Have you ever felt like you’re not exactly where you’re meant to be, professionally and personally? Have you ever wondered whether you were wasting your time pursuing that dream? Have you ever almost given up and settled?
Lin Manuel Miranda’s latest musical adaptation for the big screen is a reassuring piece of art that will get your creative juices flowing again and will let you know that even the greatest musical talents of all time had self doubts.
Fresh off the critical success of In The Heights, Miranda has scored another hit with his attempt to bring Jonathan Larson’s autobiographical show to our television screens. Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spiderman, Hacksaw Ridge) stars as Jonathan Larson, the creator of Broadway and film favourite Rent,before the success.
The year is 1990 and Larson is turning 30 in a week. He is having an existential crisis about his age, he is working in a diner while struggling to pay rent and can’t think of a vital song for his musical that he will be performing in just a week’s time. He was sure that he will become a roaring success, as do his friends and girlfriend, but over the course of a week he begins to have his doubts.
Garfield is brilliant as the funny, charming and eccentric Larson. His singing is absolutely on point, with the English actor professionally training his voice for a year before filming began upon getting the role.
In small scenes of Larson performing the original tick, tick… Boom! musical that run alongside the end credits, viewers can see just how accurately Garfield portrayed the Broadway legend.
Miranda does give himself his customary cameo in the ‘Sunday’ number at the diner. The director drew some criticism for putting himself in In The Heights as an ice cream salesman, and has become a bit of a meme on TkTok for his less than perfect singing performance in Hamilton, streaming on Disney+. Nonetheless, his cameo here doesn’t take away from the movie at all.
The supporting cast in this movie is wonderful. Robin de Jesus is brilliant as Michael, Jonathan’s best friend who has left the drama world and landed himself a job in corporate New York.
Alexandra Shipp is also brilliant as Susan, Jonathan’s long-time girlfriend who may just get left behind as the writer chases his elusive dream.
Vanessa Hudgens reminds everyone of what a talent she is. She gives her all in each singing section, the most notable being the hilarious ‘Therapy’, a duet with Garfield about the end of a relationship.
For any Broadway fanatics reading, the ‘Sunday’ diner number is choc-full of Broadway legend cameos. Twitter had a meltdown (when does Twitter ever not have a meltdown?) about the number of appearances, ranging from some of the Schuyler sisters from Hamilton to three of the original Rent cast!
I would recommend this film to anyone who is feeling a bit stuck. Of course, it would help if you are into musicals, but you will get a proverbial kick up the rear if you watch this movie. While the focus is mainly on writers and creatives, the central message stays the same. We all have to keep moving and keep trying. When one part of our life finishes, we have to get up and keep going. Tick, tick… Boom is streaming on Netflix worldwide.