Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
Rent Movie Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Vibrant musical-based movie has sex, drugs, cursing.
  • PG-13
  • 2005
  • 135 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 18 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 61 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Movie based on the hit 1990s Broadway musical that addressed topics like AIDS awareness, love regardless of sexual orientation, and gender fluidity at a time when America was beginning to confront its own ignorance and prejudice on these issues. Shows the joys and sorrows, struggles and successes of an underground arts and cultural scene on the verge of being lost in New York City due to gentrification. The importance of community, how community is like family. Nonconformity and individuality in all forms is championed and celebrated. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Gay and lesbian characters, gender fluid characters, characters struggling with drug addiction, and characters struggling with AIDS are presented with dignity, humanity, humor, and bravery. Artists shown struggling to make their dreams come true without selling out. 


Character beaten by street thugs. An outdoor performance art piece ends because of clashes between bottle-throwing audience members and police officers swinging billy clubs. 


Some of the songs reference sex. Reference to masturbation, and female sex toys in another song. Mimi is a stripper; she is shown dancing provocatively -- spreading her legs, taking cash then sliding her hand down her panties. Brief female nudity -- Maureen moons a table of yuppie developers. 


Some profanity in the songs. "F--k" used a couple times. "S--t," "ass," "hell," "goddamn." Middle finger gesture. 


Performance artist makes joking reference to Diet Coke in a song. 

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Mimi shown purchasing heroin, briefly shown shooting it up, and going through withdrawal; drug use not glamorized. Roger is a recovering addict trying to stop Mimi from using. Marijuana smoking. Some drinking -- wine, champagne, beer. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Rent is the 2005 movie adaptation of the hit Broadway musical. The mid-1990s musical addressed topics like AIDS awareness and love regardless of sexual orientation at a time when America was beginning to be more tolerant and accepting of the LGBTQ community, and the movie also addresses these themes head-on. The movie also celebrates being true to yourself, nonconformity, and the ups and downs of artists trying to stay true to themselves without selling out in a New York City on the verge of serious gentrification. Some drug use -- characters shown buying, and for a few seconds, shooting up heroin, and later going through withdrawal symptoms. Brief female nudity -- one of the lead characters moons a table of yuppie developers at a bar. One of the lead characters makes a living as a stripper, is shown dancing provocatively - -spreading her legs, taking cash from customers before sliding her hand down her panties. Some sexual references in songs --talk of masturbation and female sex toys. Some violence -- an outdoor performance art piece ends when bottle-breaking audience members get into an altercation with billy club-swinging police officers. Some marijuana smoking. Language includes "f--k" and "s--t," among other words.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bybellashaner0543 August 3, 2018


It has some drug-use, but overall it is an amazing show!
Adult Written byHomeschoolIng Mom July 29, 2018

Great movie

Great depiction of being a starving artist in NY during the AIDS epidemic of the 80s. Mature content but shows the volume of friendship and love.
Teen, 15 years old Written bykeelycrazy November 3, 2011

Rent is inspiring.

This movie is NOT for kids that imitate things going on in movies. This movie has inspired me because it really says to live your life like each moment is your... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byMoviefan101 August 19, 2009

Inspirational and a moving film that will change your life

RENT is about 8 friends who face the harsh poverty areas of New York City. In the film they learn they must face the relationship struggles and have to face the... Continue reading

What's the story?

Based on the hit Broadway musical (which, in turn, was based on Puccini's La Boheme), RENT focuses on eight artist friends who struggle to pay their rent and contend with disease, addiction, violence, and love in a gritty New York City neighborhood. From aspiring filmmaker Mark (Anthony Rapp) to heroin addict/exotic dancer Mimi (Rosario Dawson), each character has his or her own challenges to deal with and demons to face.

Is it any good?

An energetic rock musical, Rent features one big number after another. Chris Columbus' movie version of Jonathan Larson's Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning big doozy rock musical took nearly 10 years to reach the screen. It focuses on the resilience of a new generation of oppressed "types," assorted victims of prejudice, poverty, addiction, and disease. Featuring six of the original eight stage cast members, Rent is beset by awkward transitions between numbers (song ends, fade out, next song), and exposition conveyed by lyrics. The performers sing their stories and desires, framed by cheesy hooks, sing-talking them when the language just becomes too cumbersome for crooning. (This device, too familiar from Andrew Lloyd Webber works, is either wearying or rousing, depending on your tolerance level.)

Still, Rent does offer up real ideas about class hierarchy. Everyone here is concerned with property -- intellectual, amorous, and geographic -- and no one seems able to work for money, save for Mimi, who spends it on heroin. Mark eventually takes a job with the "sleazy" tv tab show Buzzline, where he learns (as expressed in the song "What You Own"), "When you're living in America / At the end of the millennium, / You're what you own."

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the many topics this movie addresses. How are these topics as relevant today as they were when the musical first came out in the mid-1990s? 

  • How does the movie address the importance of a tight-knit community, and what community means for these characters? 

  • What do you think the challenges would be in adapting a hit Broadway musical to the silver screen? 

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love music

Themes & Topics

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