Tick Tick Boom Reviewed by Dana Archer
Director – Lin Manuel Miranda
Starring – Andrew Garfield, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexandra Shipp, Robin De Jesus and MJ Rodriguez
Platform – Netflix
Run time – 126 minutes
This film is a love letter to musical theatre, to an entire generation of theatre kids for whom Jonathan Larson changed the game and reinvented the genre. The film opens with struggling artist Jonathan Larson (Andrew Garfield) working in a diner as he prepares for his workshop promoting the musical that has taken him 8 years to write. The film is narrated and introduces us to Larson as he comes to terms with turning 30 and comparatively placing his career next to people like Stephen Sondheim. It’s 1990 and the backdrop of the film is the emerging AIDS Crisis. He tries to invent the right song for his musical, Superbia (I hope I’ve spelt this right) neglecting his friends and girlfriend in the process. It is so fitting that Lin Manuel Miranda directs this film as he is the current legend of the genre, catapulting on the shoulders of Larson’s ground-breaking work. I adored every minute of this, it is powerful, sombre, and real. There are heaps of cameos from the world of musical theatre, including Miranda himself. This is a love letter to artists, not only in song writing. Larson sadly never got to see how Rent changed the world, but this film celebrates him. Larson struggles to understand where his career may go so he writes Tick Tick Boom. The fluctuations of ticking in the background are synonymous with so much meaning, from Larson’s fear of growing old to the passing time of so many AIDS victims. An amazing directorial debut and a worthy legacy.