Stephen’s review published on Letterboxd:
Though I’m generally a fan of musicals, I haven’t seen Rent and wasn’t aware of Jonathon Larson or this musical until the advance notices of this adaptation came out. It was more the pulling power of the director, Lin-Manuel Miranda and the positive buzz about the film in general, and Andrew Garfield’s performance in particular, that got it on to my Watchlist.
I didn’t even initially appreciate this was an actual musical, and that it was a semi-autobiographical show from the creator of Rent, who tragically died before it premiered on Broadway. I was much better informed after a few minutes on Wikipedia and reading some promotional interviews. I think this helped appreciate the work much more, though most of the info is covered in the intro and closing scenes.
Anyway, once I was up to speed I really enjoyed this – it has some great numbers and the staging and editing is well done. As promised, Garfield is excellent in the lead – and the supporting cast are all excellent too. Nice to see Andre de Shields in the Legends sequence – I love him in Hadestown!
At two hours it was a bit of a stretch and not much really happens outside of the reflections of a struggling artist – but it is all very nicely done and I was glad to learn more about this chapter of Broadway history.