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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Promotes perseverance, particularly as it applies to artists who must overcome obstacles to pursue their dreams, launch their projects. Also encourages compassion and empathy for those struggling with life-threatening illnesses, disenfranchisement, financial vulnerability.
Positive Role Models
Jon is a talented, ambitious musician who works hard to get his musical off the ground. He's a caring, if self-absorbed, friend. Michael is supportive, encouraging. Susan is honest about her feelings and what she needs out of their relationship. The performers all respect Jon's work.
Cast is notably diverse in terms of race/ethnicity and sexual orientation, as well as in its representation of young service economy workers. Main character is White and straight, but cast includes Latino, Black, Afro-Latino, gay, and trans actors.
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Violence & Scariness
Discussion of friends who've died of HIV/AIDS, of a friend who's been newly diagnosed with it. Disturbing side effects to a consumer product are discussed, including skin scales, full hair loss, and toxic shock syndrome.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Jon and Susan kiss passionately several times and begin to make out in a bed (sex is implied but not shown).
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Infrequent language includes "p---y," "s--t," "damn," "stupid," and "screw." Exclamatory use of "oh my God," "goddamn," "Jesus," "Jesus Christ," "my God," and "swear to God."
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Products & Purchases
Apple computer, BMW.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Adults drink beer, wine, hard alcohol at a party. Susan spots several empty cans in Jon's cluttered apartment. Two diner customers joke about needing vodka. A party guest matter-of-factly says that the drugs at artists' parties are the best.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that tick, tick ... BOOM!, which marks Lin-Manuel Miranda's feature directorial debut, is an adaptation of the late composer Jonathan Larson's pre-Rent musical. It's an autobiographical story about Larson's attempts to get a musical called Superbia produced. Expect a smattering of romance (several passionate kisses and the beginning of a love scene), infrequent strong language ("p---y," "s--t," "screw," etc.), and scenes of adults drinking at a party, which also include a reference to drugs but no drug use. There's also discussion of friends who've died of HIV/AIDS. Families who watch together may want to dig deeper into the source material and learn more about Larson's life before Rent (and his untimely death) catapulted him to fame. Because of the musical's biographical nature, the film is likely to appeal most to Rent fans or Miranda's own avid followers, who will be curious about how much Larson inspired the Hamilton creator's career (not only does Miranda credit Larson as an inspiration, but he headlined a 2013 production of tick, tick ... BOOM!). Andrew Garfield stars here as Larson, and the diverse supporting cast includes an impressive mix of Broadway and Hollywood musical veterans, such as Vanessa Hudgens, M.J. Rodriguez, and Judith Light. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Miranda's adaptation of Larson's musical is a brilliantly performed, heartwarming homage to a legend who died before his genius was appreciated. With Larson's music and Steven Levenson's (Dear Evan Hansen, Fosse/Verdon) screenplay, the musical comes to life thanks to Garfield's excellent portrayal. The actor enthusiastically conveys Larson's passion for musical theater, the reverence he feels for his influences -- particularly Stephen Sondheim (who's played by Bradley Whitford) -- and the possibility of making his dreams come true. The songs are funny, candid, and evocative of life as a struggling artist in New York City in 1990. "Sunday" is a fabulous tribute to Sondheim's Sunday in the Park with George and offers musical-theater fans a cameo-filled sequence featuring a host of award-winning Broadway legends (including Miranda himself). It will spoil the fun to mention who's in the number, but it's clear that LMM's reach is far and wide.
In addition to Garfield, the talented cast features Pose star M.J. Rodriguez as Larson's fellow diner waiter, The Boys in the Band star De Jesus as his best friend, and Vanessa Hudgens in a noteworthy supporting role as one of the two main singers in the show within a show. The ensemble is fabulous, but this is definitely Larson's show, and Garfield is award-worthy in his performance. Miranda could easily have cast himself in the part (he acted in a limited production of tick, tick ... Boom in 2013, with Leslie Odom Jr. and Karen Olivo), so it's noteworthy that he chose Garfield instead and stayed (mostly) behind the camera. Regardless of whether audiences know that Larson -- who, tragically, died of an aortic dissection just before Rent's first off-Broadway preview performance -- had written a musical before the seminal show that won him posthumous accolades, they'll be delighted to see this musical go from stage to screen.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.