The First Reactions to Steven Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’ Are Here

20th Century Studios

The reviews are in! Well, sort of.

Following the film’s premiere on Monday, November 29, the first reactions to Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story have dropped.

While the official review embargo has not quite lifted, those who attended the premiere were able to voice their thoughts on social media, and let’s just say they are overwhelmingly positive. 

A Remake of the 1961 Classic 

As many know, Spielberg’s film is a remake of the 1961 classic starring Natalie Wood, Rita Moreno, and Richard Beymer.

The lyrics are also written by Stephen Sondheim, who sadly passed away last week, so the premiere of the new film was incredibly timely.

In this version, newcomer Rachel Zegler stars as Maria, while Ansel Elgort plays Tony. And, though Moreno played Anita in the original film, she appears in the 2021 remake in a new role, while Ariana DeBose takes on the role of Anita. 

The film is also written by playwright Tony Kushner, who was nominated for two Oscars for writing Munich and Lincoln. 

Reviews Are Here

Saying people were skeptical of this film is probably the understatement of the century. Many people wondered why Spielberg wanted to make this film in the first place, as the 1961 original is considered a certifiable classic.

Not to mention, the release of the film was pushed back a year due to the pandemic, which just gave more people time to speculate about its quality.

But, despite the uncertainty, it sounds like it delivered in pretty much every way possible.

Film critic Chris Evangelisa wrote, “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.”

Another critic named Jesse Hassenger said, “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.”

Here are more reviews shared on Twitter:

Is there a chance West Side Story could win Best Picture in 2022? It certainly seems like a possibility!