THE feel-good film of the year has arrived. Hoorah! Never mind all that pesky talk of delays to the planned end of social distancing. You’ll be far too busy living In the Heights to notice.

Based on Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes’ eponymous stage show, In the Heights yarns the stories of a tight-knit neighbourhood in bustling New York. Hopes, dreams and unfailing idealism are alive in Washington Heights but they exist against the odds. Embodying all three is our hero: Anthony Ramos’ Usnavi de la Vega.

Usnavi is our surrogate and confidant. He narrates from a beach in the future but dreams in the present of a return to his ancestral home in the Dominican Republic. Ramos is a winning presence here and character actor familiar with the pitter-patter of Miranda’s hip-hop rhythm. Indeed, many will recognise the star from Hamilton, an estuary from the same source. If Hamilton exploded with politicised historical dynamite, In the Heights finds revolution on a smaller, and yet no less meaningful, scale.

From the bodega he owns, Usnavi meets all walks of life. There’s Abuela Claudia (Olga Merediz), the matriarch of the neighbourhood and the woman who raised him. Kevin Rosario (Jimmy Smits) runs a local taxi company, with Benny (Cory Hawkins) his employee. Daphne Rubin-Vaga, Stephanie Beatriz and Dascha Polanco play salon ladies Daniela, Carla, and Cuca, while Gregory Diaz and Melissa Barera are Sonny, Usnavi’s cousin, and Vanessa, his love interest. It’s a tale of great highs and dreadful lows. Of heatwaves, blackouts, immigration and winning lottery tickets. An emotional fiesta all overseen by Crazy Rich Asians’ director John M Chu. As with that film, Chu brings a keen eye for spectacle and devotion to momentum to proceedings. So large a cast - even in this reduced form - would surely have been lost in lesser hands. Lesser hands these are not. In the Heights is a joy to behold and captures well the zeitgeist of a world moving forward with hopes for a brighter tomorrow. Memorable tunes will cling to willing tongues and have audiences dancing from auditoriums across the world.

It’s a film made with love and a wealth of pride for the shared histories of those involved. Not convinced? You can catch the first eight minutes for free now online.