By Mairin Hoffman ’25
*This recommendation contains spoilers*
Over winter break, I entered a Spider-Man phase. This phase meant I watched every Spider-Man movie, with Tobey Maguire, Tom Holland, and Andrew Garfield. I had an odd connection with Andrew Garfields’ portrayal of Peter Parker and I was attached to The Amazing Spider-Man 1 and 2. I decided I wanted to watch some movies in Garfields’ filmography. His newest movie was Tick, Tick… Boom, and it is on Netflix. I was unsure about this movie since I didn’t understand the full context. I then saw the movie was directed by Lin Manuel Miranda, the creator of Hamilton. I was not disappointed after watching.
The film is an autobiographical musical film about Jonathan Larson, the creator of the famous musical, Rent. It’s the story about the trials and errors of his career as a composer living in New York City. In one of the songs, “30/90′, He sings about turning 30 in 1990 and being anxious because he hasn’t gotten far in his career. He is worried he made the wrong career choice and panics about getting older.
Throughout the film, there are songs about struggling friendships and love. He writes a show called Superbia in the movie, which he believes will go onto broadway. He spends years writing this musical, and in the end, it does not take off. One of the most impactful parts of this movie is that it discusses the topic of HIV and the Aids epidemic, which during the ’90s was a very controversial topic. One of Jonathan’s closest friends, Michael, tested positive for HIV, and in the sorrowful song “Why” he discusses his friendship with Michael and how scared he is of losing him. This part of the movie made me feel very emotional because it is hard to imagine this happening to someone. In the end, Larson’s experiences lend themselves as inspiration for his most famous musical, Rent.
The night before Rent first appeared on Broadway, Jonathan Larson passed away. It is truly tragic that he did not see the show’s success, and its adoration from many viewers.
Andrew Garfield had a show-stopping performance and even learned to sing just for his movie. I was more than pleased with the music, and even if you aren’t a musical person, I promise you this is worth a watch, and it will make you cry, smile, and laugh!