We interrupt your regular spring break programming to bring you the following film review.
Erin has been after me to watch Rent. We started it when she was here last week, and I finally finished watching it today.
The verdict? Thumbs-up, with some qualifications.
First, the music was really good, and the performers were excellent, except that I didn't really like the voice of the guitar-playing loft-dweller who pairs up with Rosario Dawson (can't remember his name--I'm bad with names--sue me). His voice seemed a lot more lightweight that the rest of the cast, and it stuck out.
Second—and I said this to Erin last week—when the film was over, I wasn’t really sure what it was about. Today, after it finished, I went back and watched the opening scene—the one on stage—again, and I think I “got” that it was about a year in the life of friends. Okay, I can be good with that. Except that it seemed to be doing so much social commentary—on AIDS, gentrification, the plight of the homeless, gender issues, etc.—that I wasn’t sure it knew what it wanted to be.
Third, I felt as if the story was a little disjointed, as if the story line was there to support the music, rather than the music lending background to the story.
These were minor complaints, though, in terms of enjoying the film. There were some terribly poignant moments, as when the people slowly vanish from the AIDS support group circle, or the moments in Angel’s hospital room. Big sniff. The diner scene was hilarious—‘loved the homage to Pee Wee Herman.
I thought the Taye Diggs—Benny—character was awkward, and seemed completely unnecessary. The whole thing with the gentrification and foreclosure could have been implied without having him even be there. Every time he entered a scene and was given any lines, the action instantly turned clunky. I also had trouble sympathizing with some of the character’s actions. Too much mother in me, perhaps, but when they’re using drugs or wandering around dark streets or the like, I just wanted to slap them upside the head and yell, “C’mon, straighten up!” To be fair, I missed my own Bohemian phase—went right from high school to a nursing career, marriage, children, and a house in a matter of 4 years. Yikes.
I agree with Erin on her choice of husband from the cast. (Good one, Baby!) (And no one puts Baby in the corner!)
I haven’t seen this on stage, but having seen the film, and knowing that it came from a stage production, I’m about a gazillion percent sure that the theater production would beat the film. A production like this just cries out to have an audience around it.
That said, I enjoyed it, shed a tear at the funeral scene (not at the end—with Mimi’s resurrection—which seemed very contrived) and then I went and, for the first time, activated my iTunes Music Store so that I could download “Life Support” and “Seasons of Love.”
Erin, thanks for having me watch! Is that a good enough report?