Tick, Tick… BOOM! is an American musical film directed by Lin Manuel Miranda. The movie is based on the theatre musical of the same name by Jonathon Larson which tells his semi-autobiography.
The story is told by Jonathon Larson (Andrew Garfield) through a musical in the New York Theatre Workshop. He is accompanied by his friends, Kareesa (Vanessa Hudgens) and Roger. Jonathon is a musical genius who is preparing for a workshop to showcase a musical he wrote titled Superbia. He works part time in Moondance Diner as a way to make ends meet. During a party at his house, his girlfriend, Susan (Alexandra Shipp) who is a dancer told him that she was hired for a permanent teaching job is Jacob’s Pillow. Jonathon postpones the discussion on Susan’s job and the decision as to whether or not he will follow her. Meanwhile, Jonathon’s childhood friend, Michael (Robin de Jesus), who left theatre for a job in marketing, persuades Jonathon to write jingles for his marketing firm, but Jonathon refuses.
During a discussion on his musical workshop, Jonathon’s producer suggests that Jonathon write another song for the 2nd act. Having been told the same thing by his idol Stephen Sondheim, Jonathon decides to write another song. However, he cannot seem to come up with a song and gets extremely anxious. Susan gets more pressed for time as she needs to give a reply on the teaching job soon. Jonathon gets even more stressed as he finds out his co-worker, Freddy has been hospitalized for HIV. Soon after, Susan breaks up with him over his indecisiveness.
The next day, Jonathon realizes that he needs more money to hire musicians for his musical. He therefore attends a focus group to create a jingle for Michael’s company. Realizing how dangerous the product he is advertising can be, Jonathon mocks the focus group and leaves. This incident causes an argument between Jonathon and Michael. That same night, his agent, Rosa calls him to inform him that she convinced more producers to attend his workshop. Feeling encouraged, Jonathon comes up with a song while swimming in a swimming pool after his electricity was cut.
The workshop the next morning goes well and Jonathon receives a lot of praise for his musical. However, no producers offered to produce Superbia as it was deemed too complex. Rosa tells him that this is the life of a Broadway writer- to keep writing something new until one of them sticks. Although Jonathon was very discouraged, Michael convinces him that he is on the right path while revealing that he is HIV-positive.
On his 30th birthday, Jonathon receives news that Freddy is alright and will be discharged soon. Susan drops by his party and gifts him a book of empty musical sheets. Then, they both part ways. Jonathon goes on to produce his next work, Tick, Tick… Boom!.
Tick, Tick… Boom! is a movie directed by a musical genius about another musical genius. Lin Manuel Miranda, the man behind award-winning musical Hamilton, made his directorial debut with Tick, Tick… Boom! and his film interpretation of this musical is definitely on point. The whole film felt sincere as if it was a tribute to the late Jonathon Larson while also excelled as a movie. Although it may seem confusing at first, the switch between the musical performance and the story wass done really well and really added character to the whole film. The ending also felt really satisfying as we as the audience came to realize we are watching the outcome of the film all along, ie. the musical called Tick, Tick… Boom!
Then, let’s address the elephant in the room- Andrew Garfield can sing?! I’m already a fan of the Andrew Garfield who did roles like Spiderman, Never Let Me Go and Hacksaw Ridge, but little did I know he can perform in a musical so well. Andrew Garfield was the one commanding the “stage” and his acting and vocals certainly did the musical numbers justice. He is such a versatile actor and watching this, I am already keen to see what kind of roles he do next.
The musical numbers were also a thrill to watch, with Therapy and Come to Your Senses being absolute showstoppers. Therapy was apparently choreographed to the eyeballs and Vanessa Hudgens and Andrew Garfield executed it perfectly. It captured the panic emotion behind a tumultuous relationship while having to hide it all because of fear about what the other partner thinks. Meanwhile, both Alexandra Shipp and Vanessa Hudgens nailed Come To Your Senses, making the scene both an emotional and powerful moment for the main character, Jonathon Larson.
All in all, I absolutely enjoyed the whole film. The story was compelling and the cast was stellar. Those who love musicals are very likely to enjoy this film, knowing that it is about the man behind the musical Rent. However, I suspect the movie may not appeal much to those who do not enjoy musicals in general as this is, after all, a musical film. Even so, I hope they can at least enjoy Andrew Garfield’s performance.
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