Is “Tick, Tick… Boom!” overrated?

by Anoushka Roshan (’24) | February 14, 2022

Art by Chloe Shin (’25)

When I first discovered Tick, Tick…Boom! on Netflix, I was ecstatic. A musical with Andrew Garfield? Directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda? Sign me up! Based on the life of Jonathan Larson, the mind behind the hit musical Rent, Tick, Tick…Boom focuses on Larson’s personal life and the struggles he faced trying to make his dream a reality. 

The structure of Tick, Tick…Boom is essentially a musical within a musical. At times, it can be slightly confusing to keep track of what is reality and what is not. This is not to say that Tick, Tick…Boom isn’t a visually pleasing artistic wonder. The dreary and neutral voice during scenes in Larson’s home, where he struggles to write a song, perfectly showcases Larson’s inner anxiety. This mood contrasts with the more vibrant and exciting tone during musical numbers, such as “Sunday,” giving it a larger-than-life feel.

Additionally, the star-studded cast brings relatively mundane characters to life and gives them an endearing quality. Andrew Garfield puts his best foot forward and delivers an impressive performance as Jonathan Larson. At the same time, he shows off his incredible vocals in songs such as “30/90” and “Therapy,” his exciting duet with Vanessa Hudgens. Hudgens also presents herself as a terrific actress amongst the talented cast with songs like “Come to Your Senses.”

However, I felt that Robin de Jésus stole the show as Michael, a research executive and Larson’s best friend, who prioritized a stable job over his passion for theater. In theory, Tick, Tick…Boom works: a brilliant cast, catchy songs, and great acting. But like all movies, it still has missing pieces. Most of the characters lack depth, making it hard to root for them for the entire duration of the movie, and while Tick, Tick…Boom tries hard to present a unique storyline, the plot eventually loses progression, and ultimately, the viewer’s attention.

Categories: Entertainment

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