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West Side Story wins five star reviews and is branded ‘indestructible’

Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story remake has scored rave reviews from critics – with a slew of five star ratings, gushing comments and heartfelt accolades spelling out award season glory for the movie. 

Following the movie’s NYC premiere and LA screening on Monday, official reviews landed on Thursday, with The Guardian branding the movie ‘a vividly dreamed, cunningly modified and visually staggering revival’. 

Social media reactions echoed those of the experts, with widespread praise coming earlier in the week, before film critics began their glowing praise of director’s adaptation of the 1957 musical, which he created alongside Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, who passed away over the weekend at 91.

Winner! Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story remake has scored rave reviews from critics – with a slew of five star ratings, gushing comments and heartfelt accolades spelling out award season glory for the movie

The story – based on Arthur Laurents’ original book – is set in 1950s New York City – loosely adapted from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet – with one girl named Maria caught between two gangs, the Jets and the Sharks.

Her brother Bernardo (David Alvarez) is the leader of the Latinx gang the Sharks, though she has fallen for Tony (Ansel Elgort), a member of the white gang, the Jets.

Rachel Zegler beat out a whopping 30,000 hopefuls for the role of Maria, making her feature film debut in the iconic role. She’s joined by a cast that includes Ansel Elgort as Tony, Ariana DeBose as Anita and Rita Moreno, who played Anita in the 1961 adaptation of West Side Story, which won 10 Oscars including Best Picture. 

Spielberg’s direction paired with Sondheim’s lyrics, Bernstein’s music and Janusz Kamiński’s cinematography has left critics’ jaws dropping and Oscar buzz surrounding the spectacular.  

She's a winner! Following the movie's NYC premiere and LA screening on Monday, official reviews landed on Thursday, with The Guardian branding the movie 'a vividly dreamed, cunningly modified and visually staggering revival' (Rachel Zegler is pictured playing Maria with Ansel Elgort as Tony)

She’s a winner! Following the movie’s NYC premiere and LA screening on Monday, official reviews landed on Thursday, with The Guardian branding the movie ‘a vividly dreamed, cunningly modified and visually staggering revival’ (Rachel Zegler is pictured playing Maria with Ansel Elgort as Tony) 

Peter Bradshaw at The Guardian wrote: ‘Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story 2.0 is an ecstatic act of ancestor-worship: a vividly dreamed, cunningly modified and visually staggering revival…

‘No one but Spielberg could have brought it off, creating a movie in which Leonard Bernstein’s score and Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics blaze out with fierce new clarity… 

‘West Side Story is contrived, certainly, a hothouse flower of musical theatre, and Spielberg quite rightly doesn’t try hiding any of those stage origins. His mastery of technique is thrilling; I gave my heart to this poignant American fairytale of doomed love’

Helen O’Hara for Empire meanwhile penned: ‘It’s Spielberg who is the MVP. He keeps the expressionist colours and bold shapes of the ’61 film but opens out the stage to the real world, mixing showy shots, like the stretching shadows of the Jets and Sharks meeting on a battlefield, and lived-in communities…

WEST SIDE STORY’S CRITICS REVIEWS: ‘A relentlessly dazzling, beautiful reworking’

THE GUARDIAN

Rating:

Peter Bradshaw writes: ‘Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story 2.0 is an ecstatic act of ancestor-worship: a vividly dreamed, cunningly modified and visually staggering revival. No one but Spielberg could have brought it off, creating a movie in which Leonard Bernstein’s score and Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics blaze out with fierce new clarity… West Side Story is contrived, certainly, a hothouse flower of musical theatre, and Spielberg quite rightly doesn’t try hiding any of those stage origins. His mastery of technique is thrilling; I gave my heart to this poignant American fairytale of doomed love’

EMPIRE 

Rating:

Helen O’Hara writes: ‘It’s Spielberg who is the MVP. He keeps the expressionist colours and bold shapes of the ’61 film but opens out the stage to the real world, mixing showy shots, like the stretching shadows of the Jets and Sharks meeting on a battlefield, and lived-in communities, like the giant street party that is ‘America’, without losing sight of the emotion. Let’s hope this is the first and not the only Spielberg musical… Heartfelt and heart-breaking, this feels like Spielberg has made an adaptation faithful to its roots but also, always, alive to the modern world.’ 

THE TELEGRAPH

Rating:

Robbie Collin writes: ‘West Side Story is, I believe, Spielberg’s finest film in 20 years, and a new milestone in the career of one of our greatest living directors. A little less than a month before his 75th birthday, he has delivered a relentlessly dazzling, swoonily beautiful reworking of the 1957 Manhattan-set musical by Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, which feels just as definitive and indestructible as the previous screen adaptation, directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins’

TIME OUT 

Rating:

Phil De Semlyen writes: ‘There’s a substrata of genius-level artists at work here: from Spielberg himself, who delivers his best film in nearly 20 years, to the late, great Stephen Sondheim (lyricist), Jerome Robbins (choreographer), Leonard Bernstein (arrangements) and William Shakespeare (most of the rest of it) – and you can really feel it’

NEW YORK POST 

Rating:

Johnny Oleksinski writes: ‘It’s the ‘ET’ director’s most visually exciting film in a zillion years. Still, it’s not gonna become a classic in the way the 1961 original did. Where this ‘Story’ occasionally walks into West Side Highway traffic is screenwriter Tony Kushner’s many needless additions to the script. The ‘Angels in America’ scribe has never met a plot he couldn’t stretch out like a medieval torture victim’

GAMES RADAR 

Rating:

Matt Maytum writes: ‘Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story is that curious kind of remake: impressively put together, but so reverentially similar to the original it doesn’t quite warrant the effort… By modernising elements without drastically shaking up the whole, it draws attention to some of the film’s conspicuously old-fashioned elements. Sixty years of history allows the original film some slack for some of its shortcomings, like the aforementioned inauthentic casting. But time is also forgiving of the sanitised take on gang culture and simplistic character motivations. Those elements just don’t ring as true in 2021. For all the finger-snapping, this West Side Story doesn’t quite click’

VARIETY  

Owen Gleiberman writes: ‘Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’ has a brash effervescence. You can feel the joy he got out of making it, and the kick is infectious. Directing his first musical, Spielberg moves into the big roomy space of a Broadway-meets-Hollywood classic, rearranges the furniture (the film’s screenwriter, Tony Kushner, has spiced up the dialogue and tossed out the most cringe-worthy knickknacks), and gives it all a fresh coat of desaturated, bombed-out-city-block, gritty-as-reality paint. He makes it his own. At the same time, Spielberg stays reverently true to what generations have loved about ‘West Side Story’: the swoon factor, the yearning beauty of those songs, the hypnotic jackknife ballet of ’50s delinquents dancing out their aggression on the New York streets’

DEADLINE 

Peter Hammond writes: ‘For Spielberg, finally a musical — one I initially was surprised to hear he felt the need to reimagine but one that comes alive as proof of its endurance and long-lasting worth. It’s also further evidence, if it ever was needed, of the gifts of a filmmaker who recognizes the greatness of those who came before him and finds a way to honor them by making it all seem like so new and important once again’ 

LOS ANGELES TIMES

Justin Chang writes: ‘Spielberg’s filmmaking, of course, is another language intuitive enough for any moviegoer to understand. It may be worth noting that America’s most popular director has never before directed an entry in what was once America’s most popular film genre, but that fact almost pales into insignificance given his instinctive sense of visual rhythm, proportion and kinetic flow, his gift for orchestrating moments that trigger near-Pavlovian bursts of feeling’

SCREEN DAILY 

Tim Grierson writes: ‘A solidly entertaining remake peppered with a few transcendent moments, Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story emphasises the musical’s most beloved elements without trying to radically reinterpret the source material. Sixty years after the original film arrived in theatres, eventually winning 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, this remake boasts intimacy and emotion, creating a warm sense of deja vu mitigated by the story’s still-potent condemnation of bigotry and violence’ 

COLLIDER 

Matt Goldberg writes: ‘For mere mortals, trying to make a new version would seem daunting, but Steven Spielberg launches himself headfirst into this new adaptation that feels fresh and immediate while still retaining the classic feel of the original. Working from a script from Tony-winning playwright Tony Kushner, Spielberg’s West Side Story is more politically pointed than the 1961 version, but it still feels firmly in the mold of a classic musical with the incredible camerawork, color palette, and choreography popping off the screen’

IGN

Siddhant Adlakha writes: ‘Not everything works in Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story — how could it, when the 1961 classic is nigh unimpeachable? — but his visual translation of some of the original’s latent ideas makes it a complementary piece. At once rougher and more dazzling, it has tremendous high points that seldom overlap with its predecessor, resulting in a remake that feels both hyper-charged and wholly justified. A true thing of beauty’

INDIEWIRE 

David Ehrlich writes: ‘The filmmaker honors a sacred piece of musical theater by flexing all over it with some of the most exhilarating setpieces he’s ever shot, but there are a handful of puzzling missteps’ 

Stars in their own right: Social media reactions echoed those of the experts, with widespread praise coming earlier in the week for Steven (pictured on Monday)

Cheers: Stephen Sondheim (pictured in 2015), who passed away over the weekend at 91, wrote the lyrics for the hit film

Stars in their own right: Social media reactions echoed those of the experts, with widespread praise coming earlier in the week for Steven (left on Monday) and Stephen Sondheim (right in 2015), who passed away over the weekend at 91

‘Like the giant street party that is ‘America’, without losing sight of the emotion. Let’s hope this is the first and not the only Spielberg musical… Heartfelt and heart-breaking, this feels like Spielberg has made an adaptation faithful to its roots but also, always, alive to the modern world.’

The Telegraph’s Robbie Collin penned: ‘West Side Story is, I believe, Spielberg’s finest film in 20 years, and a new milestone in the career of one of our greatest living directors…

‘A little less than a month before his 75th birthday, he has delivered a relentlessly dazzling, swoonily beautiful reworking of the 1957 Manhattan-set musical by Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, which feels just as definitive and indestructible as the previous screen adaptation’. 

Owen Gleiberman wrote for Variety: ‘Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’ has a brash effervescence. You can feel the joy he got out of making it, and the kick is infectious…

Wow: The story is set in 1950s New York City - loosely adapted from William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet - with one girl named Maria caught between two gangs - the Jets and the Sharks

Wow: The story is set in 1950s New York City – loosely adapted from William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet – with one girl named Maria caught between two gangs – the Jets and the Sharks

‘Directing his first musical, Spielberg moves into the big roomy space of a Broadway-meets-Hollywood classic, rearranges the furniture (the film’s screenwriter, Tony Kushner, has spiced up the dialogue and tossed out the most cringe-worthy knickknacks), and gives it all a fresh coat of desaturated, bombed-out-city-block, gritty-as-reality paint. He makes it his own…

‘At the same time, Spielberg stays reverently true to what generations have loved about ‘West Side Story’: the swoon factor, the yearning beauty of those songs, the hypnotic jackknife ballet of ’50s delinquents dancing out their aggression on the New York streets’. 

Justin Chang wrote in Los Angeles Times: ‘Spielberg’s filmmaking, of course, is another language intuitive enough for any moviegoer to understand. It may be worth noting that America’s most popular director has never before directed an entry in what was once America’s most popular film genre…

Coming soon: The film has won huge praise from earlier reviews

Coming soon: The film has won huge praise from earlier reviews 

‘But that fact almost pales into insignificance given his instinctive sense of visual rhythm, proportion and kinetic flow, his gift for orchestrating moments that trigger near-Pavlovian bursts of feeling’.

Collider’s Matt Goldberg writes: ‘For mere mortals, trying to make a new version would seem daunting, but Steven Spielberg launches himself headfirst into this new adaptation that feels fresh and immediate while still retaining the classic feel of the original…

‘Working from a script from Tony-winning playwright Tony Kushner, Spielberg’s West Side Story is more politically pointed than the 1961 version, but it still feels firmly in the mold of a classic musical with the incredible camerawork, color palette, and choreography popping off the screen’.

Writing in Variety, Tim Grierson reflected: ‘A solidly entertaining remake peppered with a few transcendent moments, Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story emphasises the musical’s most beloved elements without trying to radically reinterpret the source material…

Sweet: Steven and his wife Kate Capshaw attended the NYC premiere on Monday

Sweet: Steven and his wife Kate Capshaw attended the NYC premiere on Monday

‘Sixty years after the original film arrived in theatres, eventually winning 10 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, this remake boasts intimacy and emotion, creating a warm sense of deja vu mitigated by the story’s still-potent condemnation of bigotry and violence’.

Not all were flattering however as Matt Maytum from Games Radar gave a lukewarm stance, writing: ‘Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story is that curious kind of remake: impressively put together, but so reverentially similar to the original it doesn’t quite warrant the effort’.

Speaking about making the movie, Steven revealed that he had been musing for some time over what musical he’d like to make – and detailed how West Side Story had stuck with him. 

He explained: ‘I was ten years old when I first listened to the West Side Story album, and it never went away. I’ve been able to fulfill that dream and keep that promise that I made to myself. “You must make West Side Story”‘

Explaining the need to spread the story, Steven went on: ‘It’s just that love bridges every divide. It’s timeless in the sense that we [should] be reminded of that story as often as possible’. 

Aside from reviews in publications, after the NYC premiere on Monday, where Steven attended alongside his wife Kate Capshaw and a host of other stars, Twitter reaction saw the epic lauded as a Best Picture contender at the Oscars with many flooded the microblogging site with praise. 

Red carpet premiere: Rachel Zegler, 20, looked like the belle of the ball when she stepped out on the red carpet for the New York premiere of Steven Spielberg's remake of West Side Story

High glamour: Rita Moreno returned to the red carpet for the premiere of Steven Spielberg's West Side Story remake on Monday evening, 60-years after starring in the original

 Red carpet premiere: Also in attendance was Rachel, 20, who looked like the belle of the ball when she stepped out on the red carpet while she was joined by Rita Moreno, who featured in the 1961 version

One of the delighted reviewers, Fico Cangiango wrote: ‘Steven Spielberg’s #WestSideStory is stunning. His first musical is without a doubt superior to the 1961 film. The cinematography, music and dancing are amazing, and most importantly, it treats Puerto Ricans & Latinx community with the respect they deserve. Spielberg delivers.’

Fandango’s Erik Davis added: ‘Steven Spielberg’s #WestSideStory is a TRIUMPH! It’s beautiful & brilliantly photographed – a real love letter to NYC w/ a tremendous ensemble cast who truly redefine this classic story for a new generation. Shout outs to @rachelzegler & @ArianaDeBose who CRUSH it in this film.’

Many reviewers echoed the delighted reaction, with many stating the movie was better than the 1961 film.  

Fico: After the NYC premiere and another screening in Los Angeles, Twitter reaction saw the epic lauded as a Best Picture contender at the Oscars while many flooded the microblogging site with praise

Fico: After the NYC premiere and another screening in Los Angeles, Twitter reaction saw the epic lauded as a Best Picture contender at the Oscars while many flooded the microblogging site with praise

Crush: Fandango's Erik Davis added, 'Steven Spielberg’s #WestSideStory is a TRIUMPH! It's beautiful & brilliantly photographed - a real love letter to NYC w/ a tremendous ensemble cast who truly redefine this classic story for a new generation. Shout outs to @rachelzegler & @ArianaDeBose who CRUSH it in this film

Crush: Fandango’s Erik Davis added, ‘Steven Spielberg’s #WestSideStory is a TRIUMPH! It’s beautiful & brilliantly photographed – a real love letter to NYC w/ a tremendous ensemble cast who truly redefine this classic story for a new generation. Shout outs to @rachelzegler & @ArianaDeBose who CRUSH it in this film

Yahoo’s Kevin Polowy wrote: ‘Spielberg does not disappoint with #WestSideStory. OK maybe not as much dance-fighting this time, but sets a mood from the opening moments and delivers all the way through that gut-punching climax. ‘America’ is the easy highlight but man Rachel Zegler is magnetic in every scene.’

Discussing Film’s Diego Andaluz stated: ‘#WestSideStory is INCREDIBLE. Spielberg delivers an award-worthy visual spectacle that expands on the original as a timely technical MASTERPIECE. Every department fires on all cylinders, & Rachel Zegler steals the show with THE star-making debut performance of the year. LOVED IT!’

Disney’s Marshall Weinbaum added: ‘Sending thoughts and prayers to all the Oscar Pundits out there who will be spending the next several hours updating their predictions now that they’ve seen Steven Spielberg’s absolute masterpiece #WestSideStory.’ 

Incredible: Discussing Film's Diego Andaluz stated, '#WestSideStory is INCREDIBLE. Spielberg delivers an award-worthy visual spectacle that expands on the original as a timely technical MASTERPIECE. Every department fires on all cylinders, & Rachel Zegler steals the show with THE star-making debut performance of the year. LOVED IT!'

Incredible: Discussing Film’s Diego Andaluz stated, ‘#WestSideStory is INCREDIBLE. Spielberg delivers an award-worthy visual spectacle that expands on the original as a timely technical MASTERPIECE. Every department fires on all cylinders, & Rachel Zegler steals the show with THE star-making debut performance of the year. LOVED IT!’

Film Inquiry’s Kevin L. Lee added: ‘Surprise surprise! #WestSideStory is really good, featuring some breathtaking choreography elevated by the cinematography and production design. Everyone in the cast is great, but the real standouts are Mike Faist and David Alvarez as Riff and Bernardo. Yeah, THIS is a musical!’

BuzzFeed’s Nora Dominick stated: ‘My #WestSideStory review is simply: I can’t wait to see Rachel Zegler and Ariana DeBose’s careers explode after this. They knock it out of the park as Maria and Anita in this beautiful crafted movie.’

@camden28_ added: ‘#WestSideStory is a blast, even better than the 1961 film. Steven Spielberg has done something really special with his adaptation of the beloved musical. As for me, Rachel Zegler has earned herself a huge fan, delivering a fantastic film debut as Maria.’

Masterpiece: Disney's Marshall Weinbaum added, 'Sending thoughts and prayers to all the Oscar Pundits out there who will be spending the next several hours updating their predictions now that they've seen Steven Spielberg's absolute masterpiece #WestSideStory'

Masterpiece: Disney’s Marshall Weinbaum added, ‘Sending thoughts and prayers to all the Oscar Pundits out there who will be spending the next several hours updating their predictions now that they’ve seen Steven Spielberg’s absolute masterpiece #WestSideStory’

Surprise: Film Inquiry's Kevin L. Lee added, 'Surprise surprise! #WestSideStory is really good, featuring some breathtaking choreography elevated by the cinematography and production design. Everyone in the cast is great, but the real standouts are Mike Faist and David Alvarez as Riff and Bernardo. Yeah, THIS is a musical!'

Surprise: Film Inquiry’s Kevin L. Lee added, ‘Surprise surprise! #WestSideStory is really good, featuring some breathtaking choreography elevated by the cinematography and production design. Everyone in the cast is great, but the real standouts are Mike Faist and David Alvarez as Riff and Bernardo. Yeah, THIS is a musical!’

Buzz: BuzzFeed's Nora Dominick stated, 'My #WestSideStory review is simply: I can’t wait to see Rachel Zegler and Ariana DeBose’s careers explode after this. They knock it out of the park as Maria and Anita in this beautiful crafted movie'

Buzz: BuzzFeed’s Nora Dominick stated, ‘My #WestSideStory review is simply: I can’t wait to see Rachel Zegler and Ariana DeBose’s careers explode after this. They knock it out of the park as Maria and Anita in this beautiful crafted movie’

Blast: @camden28_ added, '#WestSideStory is a blast, even better than the 1961 film. Steven Spielberg has done something really special with his adaptation of the beloved musical. As for me, Rachel Zegler has earned herself a huge fan, delivering a fantastic film debut as Maria'

Blast: @camden28_ added, ‘#WestSideStory is a blast, even better than the 1961 film. Steven Spielberg has done something really special with his adaptation of the beloved musical. As for me, Rachel Zegler has earned herself a huge fan, delivering a fantastic film debut as Maria’

@xoxocorthenley added: ‘OMG #WestSideStory is a MASTERPIECE! I was anti a remake because the original is one of my favs ever! But this was better than the original by a long shot! Production design and shots gave me goosebumps. And the kid who plays Riff is Oscar worthy! I want to see it again & again!’

Anthony Gagliardi stated: ‘Steven Spielberg’s #WestSideStory does an outstanding job paying homage to the timeless classic from its authentic set designs to its incredible dance sequences and performances. This is one of the most beautifully shot films of the year.’

BroBible’s Eric Italiano revealed: ‘I am very much not a musical guy, so I’m perhaps not the best judge of #WestSideStory. I do, however, know what a movie star looks and @rachelzegler is absolutely that. She is *ridiculous*. More so than her massive voice, her ability to act with her eyes was stunning.’ 

Masterpiece: @@xoxocorthenley added, 'OMG #WestSideStory is a MASTERPIECE! I was anti a remake because the original is one of my favs ever! But this was better than the original by a long shot! Production design and shots gave me goosebumps. And the kid who plays Riff is Oscar worthy! I want to see it again & again!'

Masterpiece: @@xoxocorthenley added, ‘OMG #WestSideStory is a MASTERPIECE! I was anti a remake because the original is one of my favs ever! But this was better than the original by a long shot! Production design and shots gave me goosebumps. And the kid who plays Riff is Oscar worthy! I want to see it again & again!’

WEST SIDE STORY: The Social Media Reviews  

Fico Cangiango: ‘Steven Spielberg’s #WestSideStory is stunning. His first musical is without a doubt superior to the 1961 film. The cinematography, music and dancing are amazing, and most importantly, it treats Puerto Ricans & Latinx community with the respect they deserve. Spielberg delivers.’

Fandango’s Erik Davis:Steven Spielberg’s #WestSideStory is a TRIUMPH! It’s beautiful & brilliantly photographed – a real love letter to NYC w/ a tremendous ensemble cast who truly redefine this classic story for a new generation. Shout outs to @rachelzegler & @ArianaDeBose who CRUSH it in this film.

Yahoo’s Kevin Polowy: ‘Spielberg does not disappoint with #WestSideStory. OK maybe not as much dance-fighting this time, but sets a mood from the opening moments and delivers all the way through that gut-punching climax. ‘America’ is the easy highlight but man Rachel Zegler is magnetic in every scene.’

Discussing Film’s Diego Andaluz: ‘#WestSideStory is INCREDIBLE. Spielberg delivers an award-worthy visual spectacle that expands on the original as a timely technical MASTERPIECE. Every department fires on all cylinders, & Rachel Zegler steals the show with THE star-making debut performance of the year. LOVED IT!’

Disney’s Marshall Weinbaum: ‘Sending thoughts and prayers to all the Oscar Pundits out there who will be spending the next several hours updating their predictions now that they’ve seen Steven Spielberg’s absolute masterpiece #WestSideStory.’

Film Inquiry’s Kevin L. Lee: ‘Surprise surprise! #WestSideStory is really good, featuring some breathtaking choreography elevated by the cinematography and production design. Everyone in the cast is great, but the real standouts are Mike Faist and David Alvarez as Riff and Bernardo. Yeah, THIS is a musical!’

The AV Club’s Jesse Hassenger: ‘I was hoping that WEST SIDE STORY (2021) would sate my decades-long desire for Spielberg to do a musical. Alas, it is so beautifully shot and staged, such an absolute schooling of the usual musical directors, that I fear I now want him to make two or three more.’

Discussing Film’s Chris St. Lawrence: ‘WEST SIDE STORY has rocked my world. Everyone is at the top of their game. Spielberg is a master. Under his direction, Kamiński is a camera wizard, aiming a show-stopping light on the shining star that is @rachelzegler. So many things to rave over here. Too many to mention.’

Vulture and NY Mag’s Jackson McHenry: ‘Spielberg’s West Side Story does understand that the best thing that can happen on film is a bunch of people strutting toward the camera singing in harmony.’ 

Flickering Myth’s EJ Moreno: ‘Steven Spielberg directs the Hell out of a mediocre script. What an eye-roll inducing story. Anything related to The Jets is insufferable, Hell most of The Sharks are as well. The ladies do the heavy-lifting. This is Zegler, DeBose, and Moreno’s movie. The camera work is stunning, the choreography is great, and the singing is strong from 50 per cent of the cast. Spielberg directs this within an inch of his life, just wish he could’ve transformed the dated material a bit more.’

Epic: The cast have been lauded for their 'tremendous' appearance

Epic: The cast have been lauded for their ‘tremendous’ appearance

BuzzFeed’s Nora Dominick: ‘My #WestSideStory review is simply: I can’t wait to see Rachel Zegler and Ariana DeBose’s careers explode after this. They knock it out of the park as Maria and Anita in this beautiful crafted movie.’

Uproxx’s Mike Ryan: ‘Hot damn. So, yes, as it turns out, Steven Spielberg knows how to make a WEST SIDE STORY movie.’

Variety and Broadway Direct’s Ayanna Prescod: ‘I saw West Side Story tonight and I’m happy to report that musical theater will show up at the Oscars for impeccable visuals, Ariana DeBose is A DAMN STAR and it’s only the beginning for Rachel Zegler. I love this for us.’

Glove and Mail’s Barry Hertz: ‘WEST SIDE STORY: If it’s not quite essential, it’s still tremendously entertaining. Vivid, beautiful work from our greatest living American moviemaker. Invigorating choice to have subtitle-less Spanish comprise ~40 per cent of dialogue. David Alvarez is the breakout, but everyone’s aces.’

Guardian film critic Peter Bradshaw: ‘Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story 2.0 is an ecstatic act of ancestor-worship: a vividly dreamed, cunningly modified, visually staggering revival, passionately conservative but brilliant. No-one but Spielberg could have brought it off – review later.’

Slash Film’s Chris Evangelista: ‘WEST SIDE STORY is *phenomenal.* Steven Spielberg has been talking about making a musical for almost his entire career, and this was worth the wait. This is top-tier Spielberg. Been having a rather awful few days and I walked out of this like I was walking on air. Thank you, Mr. Spielberg.’

MTV News Correspondent Josh Horowitz: ‘So WEST SIDE STORY is my favorite Spielberg film in nearly 20 years. It is gorgeous filmmaking in every respect. @rachelzegler & @AnselElgort are amazing. The supporting cast is impeccable. And Rita Moreno made me cry. So yeah it’s a classic reborn as another classic.’

Variety’s Brent Lang: ‘Steven Spielberg’s #westsidestory is bold and stirring. The best parts are Tony Kushner’s book and the dramatic reimagining of classic numbers such as ‘America’ and ‘Somewhere.’ Ansel was a bit flat, but the rest of the cast is great and it feels like an #Oscars contender. The cinematography is another standout. Spielberg and longtime DP Janusz Kaminski create some of their most striking images. Also, Kushner’s script departs notably from the original book (gentrification and racism are the film’s primary antagonists).’ 

Gamespot’s lead entertainment editor Chris Hayner: ‘There’s no day quite like new Spielberg day. #WestSideStory is magical. The choreography is off the charts, it’s filmed beautifully, and there are some wonderful performances happening throughout (including Rita Moreno). But Rachel Zegler, she blew me away as Maria.’

Actor Alex Wyse: ‘I saw the new West Side Story tonight and WOW it is spectacular. Sweeping, emotional, remarkable staging, each shot looks like a painting, and I swear I didn’t breathe until the credits.’ 

Good Day Chicago anchor Jake Hamilton: ‘I’m in awe at how phenomenal WEST SIDE STORY is. Steven Spielberg makes it look easy — but every frame of this film is him at the top of his game. There’s not a misstep — figuratively or literally. Oh, and @rachelzegler is about to be one of the biggest stars on the planet.’

Fandago’s Nikki Novak: ‘#WestSideStory is EXTRAORDINARY. 10 more Oscars please! #Spielberg’s cam work is UNREAL- directors pls watch! The CAST- megatalented megawatt energy balls! @rachelzegler is magic @ArianaDeBose may be the 2nd Anita 2 win��#MikeFaist #DavidAlvarez r lightning! LOVED the love story!’

Thrillist’s Emma Stefansky: ‘WEST SIDE STORY: when every frame of your movie looks like something you’d hang on the walls of your home that’s The Kaminski Method.’ 

Film critic Robert Daniels: ‘A shocker: I didn’t dislike Spielberg’s #WestSideStory. It’s not a patch on the original (what is?). People’s skin are rendered way too pale. And the VFX is jarring. But Ariana DeBose and her evocative eyes were incredible. So were Rita Moreno and David Alvarez. Ansel? Eh. Really astounded by Ariana DeBose. Can’t imagine the pressure acting alongside Rita Moreno. She doesn’t at all crumble. She’s a throwback to when actors had presence and panache and could paint a scene in a million different hues just by the glance of her eyes.’

@camden28_ : ‘#WestSideStory is a blast, even better than the 1961 film. Steven Spielberg has done something really special with his adaptation of the beloved musical. As for me, Rachel Zegler has earned herself a huge fan, delivering a fantastic film debut as Maria.’

@@xoxocorthenley: ‘OMG #WestSideStory is a MASTERPIECE! I was anti a remake because the original is one of my favs ever! But this was better than the original by a long shot! Production design and shots gave me goosebumps. And the kid who plays Riff is Oscar worthy! I want to see it again & again!’

Anthony Gagliardi: ‘Steven Spielberg’s #WestSideStory does an outstanding job paying homage to the timeless classic from its authentic set designs to its incredible dance sequences and performances. This is one of the most beautifully shot films of the year.’

BroBible’s Eric Italiano: ‘I am very much not a musical guy, so I’m perhaps not the best judge of #WestSideStory. I do, however, know what a movie star looks and @rachelzegler is absolutely that. She is *ridiculous*. More so than her massive voice, her ability to act with her eyes was stunning.’


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