Combustible Celluloid
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With: Andrew Garfield, Alexandra Shipp, Robin de Jesús, Joshua Henry, Mj Rodriguez, Bradley Whitford, Tariq Trotter, Judith Light, Vanessa Hudgens
Written by: Steven Levenson, based on the play by Jonathan Larson
Directed by: Lin-Manuel Miranda
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some strong language, some suggestive material and drug references
Running Time: 115
Date: 11/19/2021

tick, tick...BOOM! (2021)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Back Rent

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Lin Manuel-Miranda was everywhere in 2021, and in addition to writing songs and acting, he made his feature directing debut with this extraordinary, emotional adaptation of a play by Jonathan Larson, best known as the creator of Rent. The semi-autobiographical tick, tick… Boom! was written before that Broadway hit, during the days of struggle. Jon (Andrew Garfield) is seen performing the play, which was conceived as a one-man show and later expanded, and serves as narrator. It's 1990 in New York City, and he has been trying to stage his first play, Superbia. It has taken years, and his chance to workshop it is right around the corner. But, acting on the advice of Stephen Sondheim (Bradley Whitford), he realizes he must compose one more song to fully flesh out the play, and with his thirtieth birthday approaching, he's stuck. Meanwhile, his friends are contracting AIDS all around him, and his girlfriend (Alexandra Shipp) is considering taking a job in Massachusetts. Garfield is the whirlwind at the center of this, giving a deeply enthusiastic, anguished performance, with enough energy for a dozen movies.

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