RENT (movie) Edit


Book music and lyrics: Jonathan Larson
Director: Chris Columbus
Screenplay: Stephen Chbosky
Cast: Anthony Rapp: Mark Cohen
Adam Pascal: Roger Davis
Rosario Dawson: Mimi Marquez
Jesse L. Martin: Tom Collins
Wilson Jermaine Heredia: Angel Dumott Schunard
Idina Menzel: Maureen Johnson
Tracie Thoms: Joanne Jefferson

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes. Five hundred twenty-five thousand moments so dear. Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes. How do you measure, measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights in cups of coffee. In inches, in miles in laughter in strife. In five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes - how do you measure a year in the life? How about love? How about love? How about love? Measure in love... seasons of love.

Rent, the movie musical reunites most of the original cast of the Broadway production, making it a pretty accurate film version in terms of having the right persons play the roles they have already become familiar with. Telling the life of a struggling group of Bohemians in the East Village of New York City, having the musical immortalized on celluloid enabled the production to reach out to commercial masses at the price of a movie ticket.

Dealing primarily with the love and lives of these friends, we cover all grounds with gay, lesbian and heterosexual love, and treading upon themes like drug use and AIDS. You have Jon-Bon-Jovi look/sound-alike rocker Roger Davis (Adam Pascal), with a scarred emotional drug filled ex-relationship getting it on with exotic-dancer-with-current-drug-use-problem Mimi Marquez (Rosario Dawson), aspiring filmmaker Mark Cohen (Anthony Rapp) whose ex-girlfriend Maureen Johnson (Idina Menzel) left him for her butch lover lawyer Joanne Jefferson (Tracie Thoms), and two gay buddies Tom Collins (Jesse L Martin) and Angel (Wilson Jermaine Heredia) who meet by chance when Tom was mugged on the streets. They sure ain't no Brady Bunch, with serious adult issues to grapple with, like ‘urm, paying their rent on time?

Rent does not bore you with weighty issues, and it entertains with the many (at least 20) musical numbers. So much so that almost each time a cast member opens his or her mouth, a song emanates. For a moment, it might seem a bit out of place, but soon you forget you are watching a musical on film. (As an aside, the camera moves constantly, and this gives you the illusion of space.)

The themes and problems faced by the characters living this alternative lifestyle does not appeal to me, so the story does not resonate with me. But I do dislike it either. Some plots degenerate into the usual A-meets-B, A-loses-B, A-reconciles-with-B formula. Note that I did not use the words “boy-girl relationship”. Nevertheless, even switching to the “boy-boy”, “girl-girl” relationships, it becomes the same tired plot rehashed.

Live Life, Love All, sounds like a Hard Rock Café slogan. Sure I enjoyed the music, and the visuals which accompanied the music, but that's about it. By the time the heartwarming ending rolled in, I was too jaded by it all to care too much.

Written by daface. This review first appeared in A Nutshell Review. Reproduced with permission.

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