West Side Story Film Analysis

1924 Words 8 Pages
The classic tale of two star crossed lovers, and no, not Romeo and Juliet, but close, West Side Story. Through music and dance, the homes of American families in the 1950 have been introduced to a modern story of Romeo and Juliet, except instead of the Capulets and Montagues, it’s the Puerto Ricans and the Anglo-Americans. The migration of Puerto Ricans to the United States in the 1950s led to an influx of new community members and as a result, another component of diversity in the “melting pot,” that is the United States. With the introduction of West Side Story came a new, yet unsatisfying, portrayal of a group of people labeled as “Puerto Rican Migrants”. West Side Story is a critically acclaimed film that explores, and unsuccessfully tries, through the plot development and depictions of central characters in the film, to dim the stereotypes of Hispanic identities in 1950s New York City through a story of star crossed lovers.
The film, West Side Story, first began as a play, one whose main purpose was to modernize the Shakespearean tragedy, Romeo and Juliet (Negron-Muntaner). The writer, Arthur Laurent, created a true to the time Romeo and Juliet, involving new themes and topics, adding dimension and
…show more content…
The film served as a misrepresentation to Puerto Ricans as newly migrated American citizens. The stereotypes framing Hispanics as criminals, troublemakers, and dramatic are clearly portrayed throughout the film. West Side Story could have served as a positive media outlet for the representation of Hispanics but instead it helped further solidify stereotypes. It’s use of inauthentic Puerto Rican actors doesn’t help the efforts to dim Hispanic stereotypes. West Side Story’s representation of migrant Puerto Ricans can make Hispanic families question if living in America is really worth the hassle and discrimination that the film uses as a source of

Related Documents