There are a lot of things to appreciate about Steven Spielberg’s new remake of the West Side Story, which officially hits theaters on Dec. 10. The film, which is based on the 1961 film, centers on the romance between two young lovers: a Puerto Rican girl named Maria (played by Rachel Zegler) and a white boy named Tony (Ansel Elgort), who was formerly part of the gang The Jets.
Spielberg, along with screenwriter Tony Kushner and Rita Moreno, who served as executive producer as well as playing the role of new character Valentina, were very mindful about doing away with the harmful stereotypical portrayal of Puerto Ricans that we see in the original film. One thing they were very intentional about was having Spanish dialogue spoken throughout the film without the inclusion of subtitles. Valentina is a new character in the remake who didn’t exist in the original film. She’s the Puerto Rican widow of Doc, who owns the candy shop The Jets hang out in.
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