Review: Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story (2021)

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West Side Story opened in theaters on December 10, 2021. The film is a remake of the 1961 film, that was based on a 1957 Broadway musical. West Side Story is directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Tony Kushner.


The Sharks and the Jets are rival street gangs with different ethnic backgrounds in 1957 New York City. The tension between the gangs grows when Tony, who has ties to the Jets, and Maria, who has a brother that is a Shark, fall in love. Their romance fuels an even bloodier battle between the Jets and Sharks. Maria and Tony must decide if their feelings for each other are worth the deadly consequences.


  • There is no doubt that Steven Spielberg is one of our greatest living artists. The kinetic energy of West Side Story is one of his greatest achievements as a director. Every scene, every shot, and every camera movement is filled with vibrance. Spielberg put his unmatched creativity into every moment of the film.


  • Musicals can often feel inconsequential and lacking stakes. West Side Story has incredibly fun moments, especially when the iconic musical moments are taking place. But there are also moments of tension. Spielberg, and writer Tony Kushner, balance the music, romance, violence, and humor of West Side Story effortlessly.


  • The casting of the film was perfectly executed. Everyone gives a strong performance and perfectly embodies their characters. Rachel Zegler, Ariana DeBose and Mike Faist are the standouts in the movie.  


  • West Side Story moves at an incredible pace and rarely slows down. Those rare moments, where the film is slowed, could of easily been edited. A few cuts could have made the entire experience feel even more immersive.

In Closing:

West Side Story is one of Steven Spielberg’s best films in years, and one of his greatest achievements as a filmmaker. The energy he creates is miraculous, especially when you consider he is a man in his 70s and his been making movies for almost 50 years now. West Side Story is another masterpiece for Spielberg, and everyone involved in the production contributes mightily.

Rating: A