Tick, Tick… BOOM!: A Bohemian Masterpiece

Andrew Garfield makes a comeback with his newest movie “tick, tick… BOOM!,” based on a play written by Jonathan Larson.


Courtesy of Netflix

With an incredible cast like Vanessa Hudgens, Robin de Jesus, and more, the movie is worthy of the awards and praise it’s received.

Smrithi Balakumar and Sruthi Sakala

Before Jonathon Larson created “Rent,” the broadway show made in 1996 that changed theater and became his first massive hit, his brain was in the process of writing “tick, tick… BOOM!” 

Playing Larson, Andrew Garfield stuns viewers in the movie that came out on Nov. 12, 2021. The movie explores the storyline of an upcoming composer who is worried about making the wrong decisions while navigating with the pressure of love and friendship. The original musical was a real life rock monologue written and performed by Jonathon Larson in 1992.  

Jonathan Larson died at age 35 from an aortic aneurysm the day before the first preview of “Rent.” This movie pays a tribute to his life by showing the people the play he had spent ten years of his life working on before he went on to write “Rent.”  

The movie was directed by multi-hyphenate Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of Broadway’s “Hamilton” and “In The Heights.” The movie ultimately became a passion project for Miranda, as he was a big fan of the late Jonathan Larson. “It’s about failure,” Miranda said in an interview with Vogue. “It’s not the story of the genius who made rent writing ‘Rent,’ It’s the genius who made ‘Rent’ spending 10 years writing the show that no one wanted to see.” 

Miranda really showcases the real life of Larson’s life well in the telling of this story, even paying attention to the small details like recreating Larson’s real life apartment studio exactly as well as details to life in the 90s. 

Garfield keeps viewers captivated with how well he transforms into the role of Jonothan Larson and how well he shows off his intense emotions. His acting in this movie makes audiences feel like he’s talking to them in the same room, which makes him the perfect person to play Jonothan. 

Garfield described to Variety that getting ready to be the star of the film was a “very strange, magical cosmic experience,” and working with Miranda helped develop an emotional connection with Jonathan Larson.  

“[Miranda] introduced me to Jon Larson through his work, a deeper dive beyond ‘Rent’ and into who he was as a human being,” Garfield said in an interview with Variety. “It was this kind of very cosmic strange thing where he was introducing me to [who] felt like a long lost brother, whom I’d never felt before.” 

Preparing for the role, Garfield used many techniques to fully transform into Jonathan Larson. Because Garfield had no previous experience with singing, it took a lot of training for his voice to be as it was in the movie. “I knew that I’d always wanted to learn how to sing, I’d always wanted to see where I could get to. It was blissful to do that with Jon’s songs,” Garfield said in an interview with Whats On Stage. “So much of it is about belief — believing that you’re able to — that’s what starts to open the voice.”

Garfield’s singing abilities shocked the world. He didn’t just sing the words, he put meaning into them, showcasing how Larson actually felt while struggling to get his name out into the world.  In the song, “Why,” Jonathan sings to himself with a piano in an empty park. The song is about Jonothan and Micheal’s friendship and their dreams of making it big in show business. Jonothan passionately sings the words about his hardships with his friend, and Garfield portrayed Jonothan’s emotions in that scene effortlessly. The fact that Garfield spent so much time and effort preparing for this role really shows how much he is dedicated to celebrate Jonothan’s life. 

With Miranda’s splendid direction the movie, it made it the perfect tribute to Jonothan Larson’s life. Being able to see into his life and see what makes Jonathan, Jonathan, was an experience.

The movie was awarded “AFI movie of the year” and Garfield received the “Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.” Garfield gives an Academy Award performance, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the movie wins multiple Oscars. 

“tick, tick… BOOM!” is now available to stream on Netflix.