Tick, Tick…Boom! is a new movie musical that adapts the stage show of the same name and chronicles Jonathan Larson’s experience writing his first musical. With it now available on Netflix, I watched the film and needed to share my thoughts.
Tick, Tick… Boom! is a film adaptation of the musical by the same name which is a semi-autobiographical musical about composer Jonathan Larson. For those of you who may not know who Jonathan Larson is, he is the creator of the musical Rent. But prior to that, he had a show chronicling the life of budding composer Jon (based on himself) as he wrote his first musical, Superbia.
The original Tick, Tick… Boom! was a one-man show but after Larson’s death in 1996, it was reworked to be a three-person show and that is the version we see in this film. A performance of the musical is the framing device for this biographical movie, and we watch Larson perform the show alongside seeing his life in tandem. It sounds complicated, but it isn’t at all and actually is a very smart way to make this show into a movie.
Going into watching this movie, I was fairly neutral with my expectations. I’m not a fan of Rent personally, so watching a movie about its creator wasn’t one I was super excited about. But I actually found it very enjoyable and moving. I was almost moved to tears in some moments and I was never bored. I appreciate how they handled the music in many different ways and it all made sense. Whether it was part of the framing device, was a casual sing-a-long amongst friends at a party, or a fantastical daydream in Larson’s mind, it all worked and felt natural.
I will say that knowing who Jonathan Larson is, at least in a broad sense, makes this film more impactful in my opinion. I was more invested because I knew who he was, but I didn’t know all the details that the film showed me which made it still a worthwhile watch. It helps that Andrew Garfield was phenomenal as Larson and that is the crowning jewel of this film.
Lin Manuel Miranda directs the film, and you can tell that this is a passion project with how much reverence went into the source material. He does such a great job at taking this stage show and using the medium of film to enhance it. He balances the need for abstract moments and still keeps it rooted in reality. Honestly, you need to watch it to see what I mean.
Overall, I really enjoyed it, and I was surprised that I did. I would watch it again for sure. It’s nowhere near a stereotypical musical so if that is a personal hang-up for you, trust me that it doesn’t have that kind of vibe. It’s much more intimate and emotional.
Have you watched Tick, Tick… Boom! Yet? Let me know in a comment below!