By Mark Saldanay

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

Now playing in some theaters, as well as available for streaming via Netflix is a wonderful musical that tells the story about the humble beginnings of the acclaimed late playwright Jonathan Larson. Larson, who is best known for his successful musical play Rent, struggled as a starving, but creative and talented artist in New York who aspired to get one of his productions on Broadway. Directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, based on Larson’s semi-autobiographical musical (of the same title), Tick, Tick…Boom! is certainly a must-see for all struggling artists attempting an insane and challenging career in the fine arts.

Andrew Garfield stars and excels as Jonathan Larson. Before Larson achieved his post-humous noteriety for Rent, he feverishly worked hard to get a musical plray titled SUPERBIA made. While working as a server at New York’s once legendary Moondance Diner, Larson juggled paying his bills, developing his play and maintaining a healthy relationship with his girlfriend Susan (Alexandra Shipp). However, as he shows promise and an obvious talent for creativity and music, Larson has reached the end of his rope and must face the cruel reality that his career choice might not be the right one for him.

Larson’s eventual musical production, Tick, Tick…Boom! details a slightly musical telling of Larson’s challenges in pursuing his dream. Miranda’s film adaptation gives the audience both the stage experience of Larson’s play, while also delivering dramatizations of what was actually happening in his life during this crossroads. Miranda succeeds in conveying Larson’s story, his creative process, and his problems to keep that process working for him. I have to say that I was thorougly compelled and moved with this somewhat romantized story, and the screenplay by Steve Levenson definitely makes this movie work so well.

Miranda’s movie can boast a wonderful assortment of talented and exceptional actors, who all have some solid singing chops, but it is Andrew Garfield who shines the brightest of them all. I had no idea whatsoever that Garfield could sing so well. I knew, already, that the actor had great chops when it comes to dramatic acting, with some solid comic timing, but I never realized that he could really sell a diversely talented character as Jonathan Larson.

Though I screened this movie at home, and I am sure that watching this movie on Netflix will be still rewarding, I encourage my readers to seek out this movie in theaters, as this seems much more appropriate, given the theatical nature of it all. While Tick, Tick…Boom! isn’t necessarily the best film I have seen so far, I genuinely feel that Garfield deserves some attention during the upcoming awards season.

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