“tick, tick… BOOM!”; The New Netflix Musical with Valuable Lessons for All Viewers

“tick, tick…BOOM!”, directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda, shines a well-deserved light on the composer and playwright of the hit Broadway musical “Rent,” Jonathan Larson. Larson, portrayed by Andrew Garfield, is followed through his struggle with coming to terms with life during his 30’s. “tick, tick…BOOM!” follows him after concluding his eight-years-in-the-making show “Superbia,” the AIDS pandemic and homophobia along with it, being borderline impoverished in New York City, and love. 

Andrew Garfield, seen in other movies such as “The Amazing Spider-Man” and “The Social Network,” depicts Larson as a truly loving and relatable man caught up in the whirlwind of life and age, which can be a shared trait among viewers. 

“tick, tick… BOOM!” is a breath of fresh air for those caught up in watching the same musicals over and over again, and for people that want to understand the musical genius that is Jonathan Larson. Seeing what seems like a very tedious industry being tackled by a young man is a very real and raw experience. Larson had to work from the bottom up, working at a diner while simultaneously creating “Rent,” which remained on Broadway for 12 years. 

However, an underlying theme throughout the entirety of the musical is the fear of death and not having time to make your mark on the world or industry you strive to improve. He carried this struggle until the time of his unfortunate and early death at the age of 35 from an aortic aneurysm. Larson always reiterated the feeling like he never had enough time, and was constantly pestered by a faint tick…tick…tick that never seemed to leave him. The fear of not doing enough and not having enough time is a fear among many people, and Andrew Garfield’s portrayal of Larson brings that fear to life within him. 

Known around the musical theater world is the man Stephen Sondheim. Sondheim was the composer and lyricist of the iconic Broadway hit “West Side Story” and many other works. Shortly after the release of “tick, tick…BOOM!”Sondheim, unfortunately, passed away from cardiovascular disease. However, his impact on the theater community is not just shared through his own musicals, but also in Larson’s work. Sondheim was one of Larson’s supporters and helped guide him through the trials and tribulations the musical theater world threw at him. It’s truly beautiful to see Sondheim almost given life once again in the musical and through his impact on Larson.

“tick, tick…BOOM!” is truly the type of musical that I can safely recommend for anybody. While yes, there are soaring musical numbers, this movie is also filled with incredibly important messages strewn throughout. The movie doesn’t shy away from letting the audience know of Larson’s life and how his friends struggled with HIV/AIDS, homophobia, and how he found himself running out of time everywhere he turned. Larson learns to become what he’s always wanted to be: a playwright. The musical sheds light on many injustices and many real-life struggles and is portrayed in a way that anyone can grasp.