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In The Heights: 10 Best Characters, Ranked | ScreenRant

In the Heights has been a beloved musical since its premiere over a decade ago. Now, with the move to the big screen, the story of the inhabitants of Washington Heights has found new fans, new faces among its cast of characters, and reinvigorated the love of many long-time fans, too.

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The world of In the Heights is filled with some of the most vibrant, true-to-life characters in recent musical history. It's a story about the slice of life and the everyday, but each of its characters dreams bigger and brighter and works to build a better world. In the Heights is filled with some incredibly lovable characters, no matter how big or small their role may be.

10 Carla

The girls who work at the salon in In The Heights provide the film with some of its lightest and funniest moments, filled with gossip, loud outfits, and even louder singing and dancing. Brooklyn Nine-Nine's Stephanie Beatriz is a standout as Carla.

Bubbly and bright, Carla isn't always the smartest person in the room, but that doesn't stop her from having a good time and making sure that everyone around her does, too - especially her wife, Daniela.

9 Graffiti Pete

Graffiti Pete is a character who begins the film as little more than a nuisance for bodega owner Usnavi. But by the end of the film, he plays a much bigger role than anyone - especially Usnavi - could ever have expected.

As one of Sonny's best friends, Graffiti Pete is often getting up to trouble, while also spreading his artistic talents around the neighborhood. His decision to paint a mural in honor of Usnavi's father's beach in the bodega storefront is what convinces Usnavi to stay in Washington Heights after all.

8 Piraguero

Piraguero isn't the only character who exists in the film mostly to provide comic relief, but he's undeniably the best of them all, thanks in large part to Lin-Manuel Miranda's undeniable charm and exuberant joy.

As a beloved member of the Washington Heights community, Piraguero peddles his icy wares in the city each and every day. In the heatwave, he's more valued than ever - even if it puts him in higher competition with his nemesis, Mr. Softee (as portrayed by Miranda's Hamilton and In The Heights Broadway castmate Christopher Jackson).

7 Vanessa Morales

Vanessa is a character who isn't particularly developed in terms of goals and motivations in the musical, but the film version resolves those gaps. Vanessa no longer just dreams of making it out of Washington Heights: she wants to be a fashion designer, and she's an incredibly talented one, too.

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Vanessa harbors feelings for Usnavi, just as he does for her, but both of them are too awkward and afraid to make the first move until they both feel it's too late. But of course, it's never too late for love in this world, a musical filled with second chances and dreams made real.

6 Benny

As Usnavi's best friend, Nina's love interest, and an employee of Rosario's, Benny is a character with a lot of important roles in the story of In the Heights. He's also one of the kindest characters in the film, and one of the funniest of them all, too.

Benny is a character who always has everyone's back, who always hypes people up when they're struggling to believe in themselves, and who always believes in making the impossible possible. He may be a supporting player in the film, but he's arguably one of the most important.

5 Kevin Rosario

In the Heights is a film all about generations of families, whether immigrant or second generation, the expectations their families place on them, and the dreams they hope to follow. While much of the film focuses on the second generation perspective, Kevin Rosario represents the first generation, the immigrant parents who want the world to be better for their children.

Kevin is a father who has worked hard his entire life to ensure that his daughter, Nina, can have the life he never had. When Nina falters in that journey, Kevin is pained and even angry. But he is also supportive, and loving, and strong, believing in Nina even when she can't believe in herself.

4 Abuela Claudia

In the Heights might be Usnavi's story. But In the Heights' heart is Abuela Claudia. As the unofficial Abuela of the entire barrio of Washington Heights, Claudia is a character who has touched everyone's lives in deeply personal ways.

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She is loving, kind, selfless, passionate, and funny. She is driven by her life's motto - paciencia y fe, patience, and faith. She is a woman who has lived a life of trying to make ends meet, of finding her place in this world, and of "assert[ing her] dignity in small ways." Her loss sends a shockwave through the entire community.

3 Sonny de la Vega

As Usnavi's younger cousin, Sonny de la Vega is a character who provides some of the film's funniest moments, usually by making jokes at his awkward older cousin's expense. With a big sense of humor and an even bigger heart, Sonny is a character whose life is defined by dreaming.

He dreams of going to college and making the world a better place - a dream he now valiantly advocates to make a reality, through his and Usnavi's efforts to acquire a green card to ensure Sonny's citizenship.

2 Nina Rosario

In the musical, Nina Rosario is the dual protagonist to Usnavi, and though the film reduces her role somewhat, it's clear that Nina's journey in the film is just as compelling. As the golden child of Washington Heights, Nina is "the one who made it out" when she attended Stanford.

Yet Nina finds that the world outside of the barrio is not as welcoming to her, as she experiences racism and bigotry firsthand in school. Through the support of her father, Kevin; her boyfriend, Benny; and all of the people who love her in the barrio, Nina decides to chart a new path for herself, working to build a future where undocumented children like Sonny can have the same opportunities others do.

1 Usnavi de la Vega

It's not always a guarantee that a musical's main character will be a sympathetic one, or a reliable narrator, even. But Usnavi de la Vega is all of those things. As the owner of the bodega in the center of Washington Heights, Usnavi is an immigrant torn between the desire to return to his homeland and to make good on the gifts offered by his parents in moving to Nueva York.

Awkward and nervous, self-deprecating and goofy, Usnavi is a joyful character in a universe filled with characters who celebrate the joy of everyday life. He dreams big but finds the dreams in the every day. He loves hard, and loves many people, and always puts the happiness of others above his own.

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