tick tick boom castAndrew Garfield

tick, tick… BOOM! (2021) Movie Review

Lynn-Manuel Miranda is a well-known and highly respected name in the world of Broadway shows. He has won numerous awards, including Pulitzer and Tony, and gained wider popularity with the play Hamilton, which arrived on the servers of the Disney + streaming service last year for $75 million. Tick, Tick Boom! is his debut directorial work on the movie and is an adaptation of the eponymous theatrical musical signed by Jonathan Larson. Following its premiere at the AFI festival in November, the movie arrived on Netflix a few days ago.

tick, tick… BOOM! review, plot

The film is set in 1990 and follows John (Andrew Garfield), a young composer who works as a waiter in a fast food restaurant while in his spare time he writes a musical that he believes will be a revolutionary play. A few days before he was supposed to present his work, John feels pressure from all sides – his girlfriend Susan dreams of artistic life outside of New York, his best friend Michael left his dream for financial security, while the entire artistic community is devastated by AIDS. As the clock strikes the lost time, John is not sure what to do with the time he has left.

tick tick boom cast Andrew Garfield
tick, tick… BOOM! Andrew Garfield (source: youtube screenshot)

John has been working on his rock musical for the last eight years and is increasingly worried that the career he dreamed of will simply escape him. When he is not spending time in a restaurant, he tries to organize a musical workshop, hoping that some producer will notice him. Opposite John’s dream of becoming a professional artist is Michael who forgot about art and devoted himself to corporate business – John could write advertising jingles for a regular and good salary, but in his mind it would be equal to defeat.

The title of the movie represents the melancholic sounds of a clock ticking in the mind of the protagonist, a talented artist with an unwavering desire to achieve something great before ticking the hour of his own expectations. This is a story about an artist who struggles and who manages to reach his goal on a path full of self-doubt, sabotage and failure. That story is defined by optimism and uncertainty, and if you are familiar with the life of this artist, also with tragedy.

The film is a dramatization of the story within monologues and songs between which the ambitious composer manages the responsibilities and expectations of his personal life within the self-imposed demands to become a professional artist. The script moves back and forth between a theatrical performance and events that are presented traditionally or as musical sections. Miranda perfectly combines everything we watch and presents the different energies of classical scenes and musicals as a harmonious whole.

tick tick boom cast Andrew Garfield
tick, tick… BOOM! Andrew Garfield (source: youtube screenshot)

John is played by the great younger actor Andrew Garfield, who has the ability to convincingly present the manic energy that stands out when performing songs, and there are plenty of them – from more intimate scenes in which John and his associates perform in the theater, to stylized sequences that vary between minimalist to wide-stage. I especially liked the scenes in the theater, which give us a clear idea of ​​Larson’s energy and talent.

This story is a nice tribute to Jonathan Larson, an artist and a man who understood what he wanted and who was aware of how much it costs to fulfill his own dream, but also the creative community that helped him make that dream come true. A recognizable story focused on the creative process nicely combines fact and fiction, and Miranda provides the entire film with what he became famous for – the spirit of innovation and unlimited love for the theater. However, I have to admit that the songs were not as good and addictive as I expected from the work behind Miranda.

Tick, Tick Boom! is an interesting biographical musical that convincingly presents the specific creative process of Jonathan Larson, but also all the excitement, temptations and sacrifices in creating art. Rating: 8/10

Release date November 19, 2021 (United States)

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tick, tick…BOOM! | Official Trailer | Netflix