We were able to attend a screening in order to write this West Side Story Parents Guide. All opinions are my own.
I watched the original West Side Story growing up because it is one of my dad’s favorite movies. I was even in the play in High School with him – I played Anita. I was excited when I heard they were making a new one. I feel like this will speak to people on so many levels. The theme of the movie – about how hate, violence, racism, gangs, drugs – don’t solve anything. They only create more problems.
The movie itself was packed with talent. The singing, dancing, choreographed scenes, and emotion really came through to bring you right into the scene itself and bring you up and down with what was going on. You will laugh, you will cry, and you will leave hopefully with your eyes and mind opened and be able to have thoughtful, meaningful discussions about these real-life problems with your family.
There is a lot of Spanish in the movie and no subtitles. So you won’t understand everything unless you speak both English and Spanish. That being said, it doesn’t detract from the movie or make it hard to follow. I also loved that Rita Moreno was able to come back and be in this film. She won an Oscar for her role as Anita in the 1961 version of West Side Story. She plays Valentina in the new 2021 version, the shopkeeper that helps Tony.
Ansel Elgort (who plays Tony) blew my mind. Going in I had my doubts, but he is phenomenal. His singing, dancing, and the emotion he brings through every time he is on the screen almost stole the show! Put that with the charisma and talent of Rachel Zegler who plays Maria and the movie is already a home run. The talented Ariana DeBose (who plays Anita), David Alvarez (who plays Bernardo), and Mike Faist (who plays Riff) will bring this movie exactly where it should be – to the top.
West Side Story Parents Guide
West Side Story is rated PG-13 for some strong violence, strong language, thematic content, suggestive material, and brief smoking.
West Side Story runs for 2 hours and 36 minutes.
There are no West Side Story end credit scenes.
Sex & Nudity – Some of the dresses show a small amount of cleavage. There is a sex scene. It shows Tony and Maria clothed and then cuts to another scene. When it cuts back, they are laying in bed naked but covered by a sheet. Tony jumps up, but you don’t see anything. It shows a girl in a slip a few times, but you can’t see under it and it’s not showing anything.
Violence & Gore – The whole movie has violence and fighting, that is what the movie is about. Knife fighting and people killed with knives and guns. Boys pinning another boy down and nailing a nail through his ear like an earring. Fist fighting, etc. There is blood shown, but nothing graphic.
Profanity – There are terms used in those days like spic. Several uses of Jesus, Jesus Christ, Christ Almighty, God, GD, ass, dick, and other swears in Spanish.
Alcohol, Drugs & Smoking – Smoking, talk of drug use, drinking – it is a movie about two gangs in New York in the 1950’s – expect it all.
Frightening & Intense Scenes – There are a couple of points where the fighting is very intense – but I don’t think there is any frightening or intense scenes in the movie.
About West Side Story
Directed by Academy Award® winner Steven Spielberg, from a screenplay by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award® winner Tony Kushner, “West Side Story” tells the classic tale of fierce rivalries and young love in 1957 New York City. This reimagining of the beloved musical stars Ansel Elgort (Tony); Ariana DeBose (Anita); David Alvarez (Bernardo); Mike Faist (Riff); Brian d’Arcy James (Officer Krupke); Corey Stoll (Lieutenant Schrank); Josh Andrés Rivera (Chino); with Rita Moreno (as Valentina, who owns the corner store in which Tony works); and introducing Rachel Zegler (María). Moreno – one of only three artists to be honored with Academy®, Emmy®, GRAMMY®, Tony® and Peabody Awards – also serves as one of the film’s executive producers.
Bringing together the best of both Broadway and Hollywood, the film’s creative team includes Kushner, who also served as an executive producer; Tony Award® winner Justin Peck, who choreographed the musical numbers in the film; renowned Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor and GRAMMY Award® winner Gustavo Dudamel, who helmed the recording of the iconic score; Academy Award®-nominated composer and conductor David Newman (“Anastasia”), who arranged the score, Tony Award®-winning composer Jeanine Tesori (“Fun Home,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie”), who supervised the cast on vocals; and GRAMMY®-nominated music supervisor Matt Sullivan (“Beauty and the Beast,” “Chicago”), who serves as executive music producer for the film.
The film is produced by Spielberg, p.g.a., Academy Award®-nominated producer Kristie Macosko Krieger, p.g.a. and Tony Award®-winning producer Kevin McCollum. “West Side Story” has been adapted for the screen from the original 1957 Broadway show. Original choreography by Jerome Robbins, based on the stage play, book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, play conceived, directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, music by Leonard Bernstein.
From 20th Century Studios, The Walt Disney Company will release “West Side Story” in U.S. theaters on December 10, 2021.
West Side Story Trailer
Get ready to relive an amazing story with spectacular singing, choreography, and acting that will remind you of the amazing original West Side Story from 1961. If you haven’t seen it before – you can get it on Amazon.
WEST SIDE STORY OPENS IN THEATERS ON DECEMBER 10th
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I hope this West Side Story Parents Guide helps you. When you see the movie come back and let us know what you think!