New York artists face eviction and more.
Parents recommendPopular with kids
  • Review Date: February 20, 2006
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Musical
  • Release Year: 2005
  • Running Time: 135 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

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


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


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


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


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.

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.

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."

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:November 23, 2005
DVD release date:February 21, 2006
Cast:Anthony Rapp, Jesse L. Martin, Rosario Dawson
Director:Chris Columbus
Studio:Columbia Tristar
Run time:135 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:mature thematic material involving drugs and sexuality, and for some strong language.

This review of Rent was written by

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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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 last. Not everything in the movie is positive, but you can really take stuff and apply it to your own life. It has also told me to measure my life in love and not by time. It is very inspirational if you watch it the right way.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
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 AIDS/HIV+ Disease. Drugs are portrayed as an issue where we see Mimi's beautiful life destroyed by heroin addiction. The strife that the characters had to endure was sad and hard to. One relationship used as a model for everyone, Angel and Collins', is a relationship between a gay man and a drag queen. They have a beautiful and loving relationship, and their song "I'll Cover You" shows the ideal of love. But the relationships in this movie show nothing but strong love and commitment. The Music is excellent.It gives a lasting impression and keeps you singing these songs forever more. The main messages of this film are friendship and loyalty. This is a must see film that everyone will enjoy.
What other families should know
Too much sex
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. I don't think the fact that there is a gay and lesbian couple change the appropraiteness, there is nothing morally wrong or innapropriate about that. Also, the people do have aids and take drugs, but those are real issues in the world. I recommend this movie to mature 11 years old and up. Don't watch if under 11 or 12.


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