TICK, TICK... BOOM!
Starring: Andrew Garfield, Alexandra Shipp, Robin de Jesús, Vanessa Hudgens,
MJ Rodriguez, Jonathan Marc Sherman, Joshua Henry, Bradley Whitford, Judith Light, and Ben Levi Ross
Director: Lin-Manuel Miranda
Writers are desperate to know that their toils and sacrifices won’t be in vain, but there comes a moment in every writer’s life when they must set their ego aside in order to become a true artist. Tick, Tick…Boom! perfectly captures that moment. Andrew Garfield is the heart and soul of the movie, and his passion and energy are infectious. He once again demonstrates his talent, range, and authenticity as a performer. For every laugh-out-loud joke he delivers, he also sells a raw, painful monologue on the loss of his friends to the ravages of HIV/AIDS.
Perhaps less polished on the technical side than it could have been, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s directorial debut is a fire-starter. Tick, Tick…Boom! is almost certain to capture the heart of anyone who watches it and is guaranteed to charm Broadway and musical fans of all kinds. Andrew Garfield is sensational as Jonathan Larson, his performance carrying both the film and the music to heights it otherwise might not have reached (“30/90” being a particular standout). Robin de Jesús also charms as Michael, often propelling the more emotionally-driven through lines forward with grace and deep empathy. My former-theater-actor-heart loved it.
As someone who loves musicals, I loved nearly every moment of Tick, Tick…Boom!. For a directorial debut, Lin-Manuel Miranda knocks it out of the park with a style that feels like it’s from someone who has been directing for years. Andrew Garfield gives a career best performance, showing the manic energy of someone on cocaine and genuine heartbreaking emotion. From a storytelling standpoint, the film explores an extremely relatable crisis with an upbeat, sharp, and anxiety-inducing energy mixed with catchy-as-hell musical numbers. It all blends together perfectly. This is a very promising debut that I couldn’t get enough of.
2021 will likely go down as the year of the musical thanks to some gems for the genre. However, Tick, Tick... Boom! is the best of them all. From someone who isn’t a big Andrew Garfield fan, he is flat out excellent here. Whether it’s acting or singing, he commands the screen in what may be the best performance of his career. The other major standout in this film is the music. The tunes are catchy and memorable, and the way director Lin-Manuel Miranda incorporates them deserves praise as well. A solid debut behind the camera for Miranda.