“On the cusp of his 30th birthday, a promising young theater composer navigates love, friendship and the pressures of life as an artist in New York City.” – IMDB
A little bit of background on my own relationship with this movie. One of my earliest memories is listening to my mom blast the Rent soundtrack at home and in the car. She had been a fan since it was off-Broadway. I also knew from a young age that Rent was created by playwright Jonathan Larson, who died the night before the show’s first public performance. Which took place on my fifth birthday. So I always felt this universal connection to Rent and it was a major part of my childhood. From there, my mom introduced me to both In the Heights and Hamilton and, subsequently, to the incomparable Lin Manuel Miranda. So I was excited to see tick, tick, BOOM! since it felt like a full-circle moment for both LMM and myself.
And for me, this film delivered. But I absolutely have to warn other film-goers that it is an extremely inside-Broadway movie. Let me clarify…
If you are a musical theater fan, then you will absolutely lose your mind over the sheer number of Broadway cameos in this film. And since the storyline and music were created by Jonathan Larson, it delivers the anthemic music you would expect from the creator of Rent. However, if you are not a Broadway fan, then this musical may be too deep of a dive for you to fully enjoy the experience.
That being said, Andrew Garfield is wonderful and even for the casual viewer, it isn’t hard to see why he was nominated for an academy award. The storyline is poignant and, even though it takes place in 1990, it still felt relevant today (especially considering that Larson apparently predicted social media). I did have a little bit of difficulty at the beginning of the film, as Larson faces the anxiety of turning thirty. A milestone I recently reached myself. Overall, I thought this was a moving and worthwhile watch, though not one I’m likely to watch over and over.
Rating: 7 out 10 Claire Bears
If you like this movie, you should also watch: Rent, In the Heights, Hamilton
With: Andrew Garfield, Alexandra Shipp, Robin de Jesus, Vanessa Hudgens
Directed By: Lin Manuel Miranda