Tick Tick Boom Review: Andrew Garfield’s Stellar Act in a Passionate Musical

Tick Tick Boom is a biographical musical drama on late American composer and playwright Jonathan Larson. The Netflix film is directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Steven Levenson wrote the screenplay. It is based on Larson’s Tick, Tick… Boom! musical. The film stars Andrew Garfield, Alexandra Shipp, Robin de Jesús, Joshua Henry, Vanessa Hudgens, Judith Light, Jonathan Marc Sherman and Bradley Whitford.

The synopsis reads, “On a brink of turning 30, a promising theatre composer navigates love, friendship and the pressure to create something great before time runs out.”

Netflix’s Tick, Tick… Boom! Review Contains No Spoilers

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the winner of the Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for Rent, makes his directorial debut with Netflix’s Tick Tick Boom. The film is an adaptation of Jonathan Larson’s autobiographical musical of the same name. Set in 1990, Andrew Garfield plays Jonathan, a young theatrical composer who works as a waiter in a New York City café. In those 115 minutes, we get a clear picture of how Jon was full of talent, dreams, art, and striking personality.

Jonathan is approaching his 30th birthday and aspires to create the best musical that America has ever seen. Superbia, a futuristic dystopian musical, took him 8 years to write. With this piece, the artist aspires to make his Broadway debut. However, his personal and professional life takes a turn for the worst. His relationship with Susan (Alexandra Shipp) and friendship with Michael (Robin de Jesús) face unexpected challenges. The clock is ticking, and Jon believes he is running out of time.

Andrew Garfield, as Jonathan Larson, captivates you in the first scene as he exclaims, “tick, tick… boom!” and plays the piano. I’m not sure if it was his singing or how well he mirrored the late singer that got my attention. But I knew I was in for a treat. Lin-Manuel Miranda has packed wonderful songs in his musical based on a musical drama while telling us a heartfelt story.

Jonathan’s first musical that saw the public light was Rent. Unfortunately, Jon couldn’t witness his lifelong ambition come true; of seeing the love, appreciation, acclaim his work received. On the other hand, Rent went on to become one of the greatest rock musicals of all time. Miranda, who is associated with Rent too, calls Netflix film Tick Tick Boom a love letter to America.

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As I mentioned above, Andrew Garfield is THE Jonathan Larson in the film. The actor has put forward a stellar act while treating us with spectacular vocals. Andrew was coached by vocal coach Liz Caplan, and I’d love to hear the actor sing again. Jon looked for inspiration, expressed himself through his art, and believed in his own abilities. It can be confidently said that Andrew believed the same. Hence, the actor perfects his portrayal of the late playwright.

About play Larson, The Amazing Spider-Man actor said in an interaction, “He asks questions that go beyond what it means to be an artist, he asks questions about how to live. Like, what do we do with the short amount of time that we have here? He was surrounded by death, and I think subconsciously aware of his own shortness of life.”

Netflix’s Tick Tick Boom Review: Final Thoughts

Tick Tick Boom is pleasant in the first half and evokes many emotions in the second half. It’s just pure love for art, passion, talent and music that’s shown and shouldn’t be missed at all.

The film is streaming on Netflix from November 19.

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Tick Tick Boom Review: Andrew Garfield shines in this heartfelt tribute to Jonathan Larson.

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Tick Tick Boom Review: Andrew Garfield's Stellar Act in a Passionate MusicalTick Tick Boom Review: Andrew Garfield shines in this heartfelt tribute to Jonathan Larson.