The first screenings of Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” have happened, and with them come the very first reactions. And to cut to the chase, people are in love with the latest take on the Broadway musical written by Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein and the late Stephen Sondheim.
People who saw the film were particularly taken with star Rachel Zegler, who plays Maria, Ariana DeBose, who plays Anita, and the good director himself who, at least according to this crowd, has delivered one of the best films of his career.
Critic Erik Davis called “West Side Story” a “Triumph,” singled out the cinematography for praise and also said Zegler and Debose “CRUSH IT.”
Meanwhile, Buzzfeed writer Nora Dominick called the film “beautifully crafted” and said “I can’t wait to see Rachel Zegler and Ariana DeBose’s careers explode after this.”
Critic Orlando Enelcine called Zegler “a freaking movie star,” and added that the film is a big step forward in the portrayal of Puerto Ricans onscreen, correcting “a lot of what the original got wrong.”
However, there was at least one rumbling that co-star Ansel Elgort, who plays Tony, might not have quite been on their level. Podcaster Dave Gonzales said he’s “a black hole at the center,” though he also added “it’s a very good take on ‘West Side Story.'”
Aside from that quibble, the response was overwhelmingly positive. See those reactions and more below:
It’s a very good take on West Side Story, by the way. It looks great, the Sharks and Jets all dance fight exactly like you want. The school dance sequence was AMAZING. But when the movie is dealing with Tony, Anvil Elbop has trouble emoting with his face.
— The Eternal Da7e Gonzales (@Da7e) November 30, 2021
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. pic.twitter.com/9wJbUJclnV
— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) November 30, 2021
All I’ll say about West Side Story for now is: Rachel and Ariana are impeccable, the adaptation makes some good improvements to the original, and I’m genuinely surprised Spielberg had never made a musical before this one. pic.twitter.com/s4MMomNu8l
— Carly Lane-Perry (@carlylane) November 30, 2021
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 pic.twitter.com/FZtlG8vABS
— Nora Dominick (@noradominick) November 30, 2021
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. pic.twitter.com/XBL9VOPK7P
— Chris E. Hayner (@ChrisHayner) November 30, 2021
I have seen the new #WestSideStory and I am happy to confirm that @rachelzegler is a freaking movie star. More on the movie later, but I can tell you now that it corrects a lot of what the original got wrong, especially in the way it portrays Puerto ricans.
— Lando (@orlandoenelcine) November 30, 2021
Get thine butts to West Side Story ASAP. It's as good as you hope.
— Will Roland (@will_roland) November 30, 2021
Steven Spielberg had wanted to direct a musical for decades — think of the dance hall sequence in 1941 or the opening credits in Temple of Doom — but #WestSideStory proves it was a good thing that he waited. It's phenomenal. pic.twitter.com/dJ4YJg5jNS
— Rene Rodriguez (@RodriguezRene) November 30, 2021
You can feel Steven Spielberg’s love & passion for musicals up on the big screen with #WestSideStory.
For example, there’s multiple gorgeous shots in the film. Really liked one involving a puddle of water.
— Fico (@FicoCangiano) November 30, 2021
#WestSideStory is a massive surprise and proof that no one should doubt Steven Spielberg. His cinematic charm and magic returns with passionate, personal purpose. The whole cast delivers, with mesmerizing, jaw dropping performances from @rachelzegler and @ArianaDeBose. Bravo! pic.twitter.com/EVWUswFJy4
— Ryan McQuade (@ryanmcquade77) November 30, 2021
To be honest I expected something bad from this new adaptation of #WestSideStory. Steven Spielberg does an amazing work making this new version for a new audience making smart changes. The cinematography and choreography are top notch. pic.twitter.com/sseylBZP6Z
— Manuel Prez (@negaprez) November 30, 2021
The #WestSideStory remake didn’t need to exist, but I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it — particularly the small but meaningful changes it made to the original. Love what they did with Rita Moreno’s character. And of course, Rachel and Ariana are astounding. pic.twitter.com/EQQT8p8MW3
— Caralynn Lippo (@caralynn_marie) November 30, 2021