airwreckuh’s review published on Letterboxd:
I sort of went into this expecting a silly rivalry between both gangs, but came out kind of impressed. This was pretty amazing. I loved the colors, the aesthetically pleasing costumes, and that old technicolor cinematography. I also couldn't stop laughing, it's kinda unintentionally hilarious. It's basically a self parody at this point, but in an endearing way. Everyone is just trying to look and act like a badass meanwhile gracefully dancing at the same time— I loved it.
If you put this into context; at the time, I get how it was considered somewhat progressive to include characters that were POC. However, imo they weren't progressive enough to actually hire actors who were the ethnicity they were playing (Moreno being the exception), doesn't make the brownface okay.
The idea of casting white people to play the Sharks rather than hiring actual Puerto Rican actors was definitely not cool. It’s already hard as it is for minority actors/actresses to get gigs. So, assigning the roles that POC could’ve had by giving them to white people in dark make-up, while common back in the 50s, 60s, and still done for many years afterwards is truly disappointing.
Fortunately, more recent productions have corrected this by casting actual Latinx performers, and even translating some of the songs into Spanish. *Rhythmic snapping*