It is, I think, a better movie than the 1961 original, by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, in almost every respect. The Sharks, the Puerto Rican gang who squares off with the white Jets in 1950s New York, have been a given a new and fuller life, bringing “West Side Story” into balance and righting some of the wrongs of the original in its stereotyped depictions. Rachel Zegler’s María, Ariana DeBose’s Anita and David Alvarez’s Bernardo are, to remarkable degree, what makes this “West Side Story” sing. And the story, as scripted by Kushsner, is more emotional and complex than ever, fully realizing the “Romeo and Juliet” tragedy while shading the ’50s gang strife with notes of today’s divisions and battles of gentrification.
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