Rent

Movie review by
Cynthia Fuchs, Common Sense Media
Rent Movie Poster Image
New York artists face eviction and more.
  • PG-13
  • 2005
  • 135 minutes
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 18 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 56 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Characters do drugs; characters argue and fight; in the end, they learn the value of love.

Violence

Character beaten by street thugs in beginning; a couple of HIV+ characters become visibly ill; one dies.

Sex

Characters sing about love and sex; one dances at a strip club; another is a drag queen' couples are gay, lesbian, and straight.

Language

Lyrics include at least two f-words, as well as other mild and frequent cursing.

Consumerism

New York City streets include billboards, flyers, and neon ads for fictional brands.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Smoking, drinking, and pot-smoking; heroin purchase and shooting.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that given the nature of the subject matter, they might want to see it with their kids, or even before them, so that they can talk to them about the themes and the content of the film. After all, this musical features characters who are addicted to heroin, have AIDS, and argue with one another over class politics and property. Characters smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, smoke a joint, and appear purchasing and shooting heroin. One couple is lesbian, another is gay (one partner being a transvestite). Early on, a character is beaten bloody by muggers. One character pole dances in a strip club, others are HIV positive and one character dies of AIDS in a very sad scene. Peppery language includes two f-words, as well as other mild cursing (s-words, "ass," "damn"). But the eight protagonists are charismatic and committed to one another, which offers a healthy model of friendship and romance.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 15 year old Written byTsion June 18, 2011

An Edgy and Uplifting Musical Adaptation

RENT hadn't spent a long time on Broadway before it was considered to be made into a movie. However, after directior switching and studio swapping, the re... Continue reading
Parent of a 11 and 16 year old Written bygleelover123 February 20, 2011

perfect for tweens and up

i loved it and it taught my kids not to do surtine things..........my child is 11 and she understood every word and loved it she can't stop singing the son... 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
Kid, 11 years old April 9, 2008

Rent is a must see!!

Yes, rent is very innapropriate at times, but the message is one that true love is strong no matter what gender you are or what you belive or your bad qualities... 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, and 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 their 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 (Rosario Dawson), who spends it on heroin. Mark (Anthony Rapp) 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 drugs, alcohol, AIDs, ambition and the alternative family formed by these diverse friends. How does Tom and Angel's relationship serve as the primary model for unconditional love and loyalty? How do the reconciliations of quarreling couples (Joanne and Maureen, Mimi and Roger) show that trust can overcome insecurities and jealousies? How does the film show a class conflict between landlords and renters or squatters?

Movie details

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