A Thorough Review of Every Performance in 'West Side Story'

Based on both talent and AWOOOGA-ness

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 07: (L-R) Mike Faist, David Alvarez, Ariana DeBose, Rachel Zegler...
Jesse Grant/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
A Steven Spielberg Joint

Based on box office numbers, not enough of you are seeing West Side Story. What’s your fucking problem? Is it the Omicron variant or do you just have no warmth left in your heart? Those are the only two reasons I can muster up for why you haven’t heeded Nicole Kidman and gotten your butt back to movie theaters.

In an attempt to convince all of you to put on two masks and go see this movie, I have put together a review of every performance in the movie. We are judging based both on talent and how much I wanted to yell “Awooooga” when they were on the screen. If you don’t like musicals, I am sure you like hot people, you sick fucks. Here we go.

Ansel Elgort as Tony

All of Elgort’s personal baggage aside, let’s start with the fact that Tony is a thankless role. The movie asks us to believe that he is the most handsome boy in the universe, one who you would still sleep with after he stabbed your brother to death. It’s almost impossible to make this work, and Ansel is already handicapped by being the worst singer (and, arguably, actor) of the bunch. It seems like he’s going for some kind of Sinatra-esque crooning thing, and it consistently falls flat. I guess no one at LaGuardia High taught him about acting through his voice. His biggest virtue, as Maria points out upon meeting him, is that he’s tall. Who among us hasn’t been tricked into believing that a 6’3” white man could whisk us away from all the bad things in our life.

Talent Rating: 3/10

Awooooga Rating: 4/10

Overall Rating: 4/10

Rachel Zegler as Maria

Like Tony, Maria is a role that pays few dividends to its performer. Are your eyes big? Can you flit around? You’ve got the part. What Zegler does have is a voice. It is a fault of the show that Tony gets way more singing time than Maria, but when Zegler does get the chance to belt out, man does she go crazy. This is her first professional acting gig, and she certainly is talented, but she does get a tad bit outshined by the ensemble of actors who have been doing this for much longer.

Talent Rating: 8/10

Awooooga Rating: N/A (She was like 18 when they filmed this and I will not be rating how awooooga a child is.

Overall Rating: 8/10

Ariana DeBose as Anita

DeBose is a perfect example of why you should hire Broadway actors for movie musicals. She is singing, dancing, and acting her ass off every time she’s on screen. I want to see West Side Story again just so I can watch her do “America” all over again. This performance is so good it has made me completely forget how weird her vibe was when she hosted the Oscars pre-show.

Talent Rating: 9/10

Awooooga Rating: 10/10

Overall Rating: 9.5/10

David Alvarez as Bernardo

AWWWOOOOOOGGGAAAAA. Not enough people are talking about how hot Alvarez is in this movie. I also think he gave a great performance, but I honestly cannot remember. It was like staring into the sun.

Talent Rating: ??? (Cannot recall)

Awooooga Rating: 12/10

Overall Rating: 10/10

Mike Faist as Riff

If anyone becomes a big fat star off of this movie, it should be Mike Faist. What Elgort was unable to do with Tony (make him interesting), Faist does with flying colors with Riff. A character that can sometimes be boring is elevated here to the Shakespearean levels of the source material. Faist’s Riff is scary and bloodthirsty, but also someone who has been failed by everyone in his life. It’s also worth noting that Faist has a jawline so sharp you could perform surgery with it.

Talent Rating: 10/10

Awooooga Rating: 9/10

Overall Rating: 9.5/10

Rita Moreno as Valentina

I mean, what do I even have to say? Legend, icon, the moment, etc. Let her win another Oscar for being in West Side Story, she’s earned it.

Talent Rating: 10/10

Awooooga Rating: 8/10

Overall Rating: 9/10


Corey Stoll as Lieutenant Schrank: Much like Jeremy Strong, he is treating this like it’s Chekhov and it’s working.

Brian d’Arcy James as Officer Krupke: The perfect face for a putz; wish he sang more.

Josh Andrés Rivera as Chino: Poor guy :(.

The Jets: Their version of “Gee, Officer Krupke” is better than the 1961 film’s, and for that they get an A+.

The Sharks: I’ve never seen better dancers in my life.