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 resultant film arrived in 2005, almost ten years after the original Broadway production opened. However, the passage of time hasn't dullened any of RENT's messages or sensibilities. The musical's story and message of love, living life to the fullest, and acceptance is just as relevant today as a decade ago. Though the movie cuts out many beloved songs from the original show, it has stayed true to the original through a splendid direction and execution. The story translates well to film.
However, despite the positivity, Rent isn't for everyone. Though the movie was admittedly made with a young audience in mind, by all rights, it should have been rated R. Aside from thematic issues revolving around poverty, disease, sexuality, and drug addiction, the film contains brief harsh profanity, straightforward depiction of drug use, and a pervasive sexuality akin to its staged counterpart. Strippers (including a main character) are shown performing, and although they stay (barely) clothed, their dance is plenty suggestive. It includes thrusting, caressing, and plenty of leg bending. We see the bare butt of one dancer in her thong. Elsewhere, a woman (albeit humorously) moons a man (and the camera). A woman is seen cheating on her partner by kissing another woman and man. One of the biggest musical numbers in the film features a barrage of light-hearted sexual jokes and comments (including references to S&M, masturbation, and drug use), accompanied by mock thrusting and some obscene hand/arm gestures. There are two (sung) f-words, plus numerous mild profanities. Two different women are seen injecting themselves with heroin, and a man is shown smoking marijuana. A short, graphic scene shows a woman going through violent withdrawal after trying to quit cold-turkey. On the plus side, said drug use is condemned and not praised as in most films. In short, Rent is a must-see film for fans of the show and of musicals in general. But its messages of friendship and devotion come along with lots of potentially offensive content that is not (in my opinion) excessive, but iffy for kids.