Tick, Tick... Boom
Picture of Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Lin Manuel Miranda makes an impressive directorial debut with Tick, Tick… Boom!

Musician Lin Manuel Miranda makes a heartfelt directorial debut with Netflix’s Tick, Tick….Boom!  The film is an adaptation of the autobiographical musical by the late Jonathan Larson, who revolutionized theater as the creator of Rent. The film follows Jon (Andrew Garfield), a young theater composer, waiting tables at a New York City diner in 1990 while writing what he hopes will be the next great American musical.

 

Days before he’s due to showcase his work in a make-or-break performance, Jon is feeling the pressure from everywhere. His girlfriend Susan (Alexandria Shipp), has dreams of an artistic life beyond New York City; from his friend Michael (Robin De Jesus), who has moved on from his dream to a life of financial security; amidst an artistic community being ravaged by the AIDS epidemic. With the clock ticking, Jon is at a crossroads and faces the question everyone must reckon with: What are we meant to do with the time we have? 

 

Less than sixty days after adapting the underappreciated Dear Evan Hansen, Steven Levenson pens another Broadway adaptation with Tick, tick…BOOM!  One of the first things you notice is two parallel stories going on in the film. One is of Jon performing his play, and the other ae the events that inspired the film. Similar to the movie mentioned above, the lead performance guides this film through its run time. I had no idea that Andrew Garfield had such a natural singing voice, and he does excellent as Jon as he takes on a journey for a creative trying to make his mark in the competitive world of theater.

 

The rest of the supporting cast is good, with both Alexandria Shipp and Robin De Jesus getting musical numbers and dramatic monologues with Garfield.  In addition, Vanessa Hudgens, Judith Light, and Bradley Whitford have small but vital roles as characters who played a part in Larson’s journey. In addition, Hip Hop fans should keep their eyes open peeled for a great cameo by Black Thought of The Roots, while Broadway fans should be on the lookout for cameos from some legends, which I will not spoil.

 

Throughout its 115 minute run time, my wife and I were both engaged in Tick, Tick….Boom!. And when the credits rolled on the film, I was reminded of a Johnathan Larson quote from Rent. “The heart may freeze, or it can burn. The pain will ease, and I can learn. There is no future, there is no past. I live this moment as my last. To me, that means always living life to the fullest. 

 

While I never had the chance to see the original versions of Rent or Tick, Tick… Boom!  I know the name Johnathan Larson and the success that he alluded him due to his untimely passing.  Lin Manuel Miranda pays an excellent homage to the legacy of talent gone too soon for his directorial debut.

 

Final Grade: B+

 

Tick, Tick… Boom is streaming on Netflix now

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