Tick, Tick… Boom!, is a film based on playwright Jonathan Larson released on November 12, 2021 on the Netflix streaming platform being the first project directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda as a feature film format, after having composed the songs for the film Vivo (also available on Netflix.) So, as I said, it’s the autobiography of a dreamy playwright who’s desperate to create something huge, impressive and unforgettable before it’s too late, while dealing with love, friends, work, bills. Life itself, reality without makeup.
Jonathan Larson, played by British-American actor Andrew Garfield, works in a restaurant in New York City. At home he spends hours crafting a musical in monologue form, so that he can hopefully introduce it to more people, but we all know that the art world is next level difficulty. It’s extremely desperate to want to do something outstanding, but not have the necessary resources or support for it, and that’s the reality that many artists face every day. Some have everything at hand, others form groups and support each other, and many others only have a page and a pencil. It’s hard, isn’t it? So, how do you not question whether the right decision was made? Is this the path you want to follow? Many fall into that race. They show us this in those two hours of the film. With all the frustration of not being able to get what he wanted, Michael, the best friend of our protagonist and played by Robin de Jesús, decides to give up, leave everything behind and get used to a new life so as not to feel that time was completely wasted.
However, Larson was persevering. He did try to take another path, but it didn’t work. It’s more the love of art, so he took everything ahead, placed his project as a priority leaving the rest aside, and focused so much on his dream so much so that he lost that beautiful connection with his love. Selfishness came without warning and also took away his great friend (we’re not talking about death, don’t worry) and as if that wasn’t enough, they cut off his electricity services in his very humble flat. All this happened in the final stretch of the elaboration of his first work. Does that moment sound familiar to you? When you’re working on something that you’ve put your all and the best of you and only that last piece is missing to complete the puzzle and suddenly destiny decides to place you the most difficult and challenging obstacles, which seems to have no way out. Just writing it made me collapse.
So, Larson had only one thing to do to de-stress or at least try, and there came the inspiration. The work was done. The presentation started, it was very good, but everything became as if it had been totally worthless. Suddenly the phone rang, a magical and hopeful call. Obviously this has a future, of course the one and only Jonathan Larson had a future and that’s how the unforgettable Rent came to Broadway to stay for 12 years to make a difference in future musicals.
Now that we have all of this in mind, I proceed to address how this story was told. It felt sort of like Disney. I haven’t enjoyed such good music in a movie in a long time. Each song moved something inside you, not only because of the voices, because I have to emphasize that this masterpiece has the talent of the beloved Vanessa Hudgens, who did a phenomenal job. The way each song was interpreted was exceptional, but the way the sequences ran, that message they wanted to leave with each one of them left you amazed. The dances, the power, all the effort behind each actor or actress on stage is completely remarkable.
Let’s return to the actor Robin de Jesus, a character achieved to perfection, he caught me when he sang the song “No More” with Garfield, and scene by scene I loved him more and more, but I definitely confirmed his great talent in that strong scene where everything had reached the limit and Michael, his character, exploded and shouted everything in front of his best friend. It was impressive, outstanding, and he left me perplexed. An extraordinary performance.
Now, it’s time to cover the huge and unmissable talent of Andrew Garfield. At first the Tony Award winner asked Lin-Manuel how long it would take to record, the director told him that one year, so Garfield had plenty of time to learn how to sing and he succeeded. What a great job! It’s not only that, it’s the way in which he embodied that unique character, every detail very well achieved, that charisma, those facial expressions, the energy and feeling, I have only seen videos of the original Larson and it is enough for me to know that Andrew took this role very seriously and played it in the best way ever seen.
There is no doubt that this boy deserves to be the next winner of the highly acclaimed Oscar. I have always said that an actor or actress who stands out in every aspect that is presented to them or that is asked of them, should be well recognized, because it isn’t easy at all, not everyone can handle it, not everyone can achieve it and I think the British-American actor has us repeating the scene from Boho Days on a loop. So yes, for me, Andrew Garfield is probably my favourite nominee this year for the Oscars.
This movie makes you think about what we are doing with our lives. If you’re in the middle of a project that you have faith in, or you have something in mind that you’re working towards, but sometimes you feel as if you’re not getting anywhere, if you don’t see a way out, take a break, look at everything you’ve done,look at how far you’ve come and think, is it time to give up or grab a boost and reach the top? Time makes up for everything, but time doesn’t stop, it’s running right now and if you haven’t seen this musical drama yet, what are you waiting for? Tick, tick, tick, tick… don’t wait for it to go boom! Please, enjoy this tremendous film.