Watch it for...
A dynamic and emotional love letter to the theatre or to anyone with a dream, that’s directed by Lin Manuel Miranda and filled with cameos by Broadway legends!
Tick, Tick, Boom! is the semi-autobiographical story of Jonathan Larson, composer of Broadway hit RENT. It’s 1990 in New York City. Jonathan (played with uncanny accuracy by Andrew Garfield) is a composer. He has lived his whole life for this moment: his first musical is about to get a workshop at the famed Playwright’s Horizons. However, he’s also eight days from turning 30, and that birthday is feeling like, you guessed it, a ticking time bomb. What’s more, his ambition and one-track mind are making his relationships hard. His best friend Michael, a fellow theatre kid, just took a job in advertising. Jonathan’s friends at Moondance Diner, his theatrical collaborators, and his girlfriend Susan, are getting tired of the self-absorbed tizzy he is in. How this chosen family is tested, and whether the show will be a hit, are the questions to be answered—sometimes through Jonathan’s own songs!
I grew up near New York in the 80s and 90s, and I was a theatre kid. I knew about Jonathan Larson, going in to the movie, but you don’t have to be a fan of musicals to get a lot out of this story! It presents realistic relationships and celebrates chosen families, and was so accurate at representing the challenges of pursuing a creative life that I sometimes laughed out loud with recognition.
The relationships in this story are multi-dimensional, which I really appreciated. The people around Jonathan both love him and push back on his privilege and baggage. It really irks me when supporting characters are flat, or when queer and BIPOC characters are whitewashed, but there is some real nuance and care in the way they are treated here. The singing is first-rate, and the final songs are satisfying and emotional. I was left reflecting on creativity and connection, and it made me want to call all my friends!