Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Entertainment

Review: Rita Moreno is sensational in ‘West Side Story’ as Valentina

Academy Award-winning actress Rita Moreno stars as Valentina in the new adaptation of “West Side Story,” and her performance is remarkable.

Rita Moreno as Valentina in 'West Side Story'
Rita Moreno as Valentina in 'West Side Story.' Phoot Credit: Niko Tavernise, 20th Century Studios
Rita Moreno as Valentina in 'West Side Story.' Phoot Credit: Niko Tavernise, 20th Century Studios

Academy Award-winning actress Rita Moreno stars as Valentina in the new adaptation of “West Side Story,” and her performance is remarkable. Digital Journal has the recap.

It was directed by Oscar-winning director Steven Spielberg, and Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award® winner Tony Kushner wrote the screenplay. Rita Moreno won the Oscar for “Best Supporting Actress” in 1962 for playing Anita in the original version of “West Side Story,” where the original music was composed by Leonard Bernstein, with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.

“West Side Story” tells the iconic tale of fierce rivalries and young love in 1957 New York City. This reimagining of the beloved musical stars Ansel Elgort, who delivers as Tony, Rachel Zegler (Maria), Ariana DeBose (Anita), David Alvarez (Bernardo), Mike Faist (Riff), Josh Andres Rivera (Chino), and Ana Isabelle (Rosalia), among others.

It further explores forbidden love and the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds.

Rita Moreno’s portrayal of Valentina in the 2021 adaptation of the film is raw and subtle. This is a new role created by Kushner for Moreno, and the character did not appear in the 1957 Broadway show or the 1961 movie adaptation.

Valentina owns the corner store in which Tony works, and Moreno is not afraid to be sincere and vulnerable. The audience is bound to be moved on an emotional level with Moreno’s acting abilities, which run the gamut. One should not be surprised if she earns a 2022 “Best Supporting Actress” Oscar nomination, especially since there is always room in that category for a comeback veteran. This would be a fitting present for Moreno’s 90th birthday, and it would be a neat feat to see her earn two carrer Oscar nods for “West Side Story.”

Ariana DeBose and Rachel Zegler were noteworthy as Anita and Maria respectively, and the entire cast nailed the dance routines and the musical numbers.

This adaptation of “West Side Story” is quite different than the ’60s original, however, it has an important message to it, and it deserves to be seen for its humanity. Simply put, it is the film that the world needs right now. The cultural depictions are more modern and refreshing. Steven Spielberg makes everything work in his first musical.

The trailer of the 2021 adaptation of “West Side Story” may be seen below.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

You may also like:

World

Soemwhere the haunted popup they called America sighed in the silence.

Sports

The Seine has been clean enough to swim for most of the past 12 days, Paris city hall said Friday.

Entertainment

Filmmaker Dar Dowling chatted about directing her latest film "Hineni" and being a part of the digital age.

Entertainment

Actress Amy Tsang (The CW’s "Kung Fu") chatted about "Stars Wars: The Acolyte," and she remembers the late "General Hospital" actor Johnny Wactor.