Tick, Tick... Boom!

2021, Musical/Drama, 1h 55m

212 Reviews 50+ Verified Ratings

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critics consensus

tick, tick... BOOM! makes musical magic out of a story focused on the creative process -- an impressive feat for debuting director Lin-Manuel Miranda. Read critic reviews

audience says

Led by an amazing Andrew Garfield, tick, tick… BOOM! is a tear-jerking treasure for fans of musical theater. Read audience reviews

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Movie Info

Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award winner Lin-Manuel Miranda makes his feature directorial debut with tick, tick...BOOM!, an adaptation of the autobiographical musical by Jonathan Larson, who revolutionized theater as the creator of Rent. The film follows Jon (Academy Award nominee and Tony Award winner Andrew Garfield), a young theater composer who's waiting tables at a New York City diner in 1990 while writing what he hopes will be the next great American musical. Days before he's due to showcase his work in a make-or-break performance, Jon is feeling the pressure from everywhere: from his girlfriend Susan, who dreams of an artistic life beyond New York City; from his friend Michael, who has moved on from his dream to a life of financial security; amidst an artistic community being ravaged by the AIDS epidemic. With the clock ticking, Jon is at a crossroads and faces the question everyone must reckon with: What are we meant to do with the time we have? tick, tick...BOOM!

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Critic Reviews for Tick, Tick... Boom!

Audience Reviews for Tick, Tick... Boom!

  • Apr 29, 2022
    Having never seen Rent, I feel like some of the appreciation of this film is lost on me, so I am coming into it from that angle. However, I can still say it is a beautiful look at the artistic process and the artists struggle and it is a painfully accurate portrayal at that feeling of getting older, running out of time, and staring at a blank page. It's a feeling every artist knows, it sucks, and this movie captures it with painful accuracy. But is the movie enjoyable? Well, Andrew Garfield certainly is, giving 110% to every scene he's in and absolutely deserving his Oscar nomination. The movie as a whole though, is fine. The songs are good, but the direction is a bit pedestrian, and while I liked the message and story it never grabbed me the way it should have. Maybe after I see Rent it will reach me in a new way though, and I will give it the benefit of the doubt until then.
    Michael M Super Reviewer
  • Nov 23, 2021
    It's that time of year again. There's usually something great to see in theatres or on streaming when the holidays begin to roll around, due to the fact that studios like to dump their movies at the end of the year for awards consideration. tick, tick… BOOM! has just started streaming on Netflix and I was already intrigued due to it being the first film that Lin-Manuel Miranda has ever directed, and all I will start off with saying is that he absolutely knocked it out of the park for his first time. As the awards season ramps up, here's why tick, tick, BOOM! should absolutely be on your radar.  Based on the true story of the life of Jonathan Larson (Andrew Garfield) before he created the renowned musical Rent, tick, tick, BOOM! chronicles the period in his life when nothing was going right for him. Trying to write a musical that he hopes will make him famous, while also juggling losing friends, loved ones, and a girlfriend that is likely moving in a different direction, the optimism that this film holds onto is breathtaking. There are quite a few musical numbers, but most of them are calm, quiet, or story-driven. There are very rarely numbers for the sake of having numbers and I loved that. The film crescendos with some of the best musical moments I've seen in quite a few years though, so the slow build to the conclusion felt very moving.  Now, to talk about the true star of the show here, Andrew Garfield as Jonathan Larson. I've been a massive fan of him since his incredible work in The Social Network and have loved him in nearly everything since, but I had no idea he was also musically talented. His performance with dialogue is great as always here, but the added depth that it's actually him singing is what sold the conclusion of the film for me. There is one monologue that he signs at the end of the film that brought me to tears. I would not be surprised if he starts getting nominated for this performance in the coming months.  I will admit that this film took a little longer than expect to win me over, but that's only because the musical numbers were not what I was expecting. There are quite a few scenes throughout the first two acts where the songs are just random lines of dialogue being sung, which worked great, but I needed to adjust to that style. By the end of the film, I just wanted to start it again to appreciate it even more. This film felt like a breath of fresh air for the musical genre. The fact that this feels both like a low-budget indie and an expensive musical at times was a very nice blend.  Overall, if you're a fan of musicals, I think you'll find it hard to dislike this one. I also appreciate when a musical goes the extra mile to feel different from others and tick, tick, BOOM! absolutely does that. Being an editor myself, I would be remiss if I didn't also commend both Myron Kerstein and Andrew Weisblum for their incredible editing job here. With Miranda's superb direction and their frenetic editing, this movie wouldn't have worked quite as well as it did. Juggling scenes from the past, present, and actual scenes of Garfield narrating in-person, there is a lot going on here and it never feels like a mess. I was thoroughly impressed by the movie as a whole. Now streaming on Netflix, I highly recommend checking it out.
    KJ P Super Reviewer
  • Nov 23, 2021
    Netflix's tick, tick... BOOM! is a cause celebre that has attracted none other than the likes of Lin Manuel-Miranda. This is Miranda's directorial debut, which Netflix won in a bidding war, and it's filled to the brim with Broadway legends and theater titans who all want to rally to the cause of bringing alive the other show of Jonathan Larson's tragically short career. Larson would go on to create the hit musical Rent but died before it opened to the public, succumbing to a sudden aortic aneurysm at the age of 35. He never lived to see the tremendous success of Rent and that legacy is the emotional substance of tick, tick... BOOM!, if you happen to know about it. The story, and consequently the movie, feel like a lob to the insulated world of theater aficionados. The movie is semi-autobiographical about Larson (Andrew Garfield) on the verge of turning 30 in New York City in 1990 without achieving his big artistic dreams. He's been toiling with a satirical sci-fi musical opus for years and is close to finishing it for a make-or-break presentation. The movie is based on Larson's one-man show detailing his creative process and being young and hungry in New York in the early 90s. It was moderately successful and paved the way for Rent, but it was further work adapted in 2001 into a three-person show, which has expanded even further with the film. The songs, written and composed by Larson, are enjoyable but none of them really stand out. I may have liked the least substantial one the best where Larson sings about his distaste at serving brunch patrons in a parody of Stephen Sondheim's Sundays in the Park with George. The sequence is also wall-to-wall with Broadway cameos. I could not better emotionally connect with the movie. It hangs with looming tragedy of Larson's surprise death, only five years away, as he wants to do something great with his life and make artistic waves. I think if you removed that added dramatic irony of tragedy, it's watching a young artist struggle in the theater scene and hold onto his vision, integrity, and friendships, something we've seen but benefits with the verve of perosnality. As a story, it's fallen into a trap where the struggles can be quite relatable to aspiring creatives and also not specific enough to greatly care about Larson as a character onscreen. Garfield sings well and is perfectly charming. Miranda proves apt with the language of film to translate from the confines of the stage. The entire project feels suffused with admiration and good intentions. tick, tick... BOOM! is a labor of love from many theater professionals. It's an amusing but emotionally limited musical experience. Still, with this much talent, heart, and good will, it's worth watching for no other reason to see what Miranda and his theater brethren can do together when trying to celebrate one of their own. Nate's Grade: B
    Nate Z Super Reviewer
  • Nov 15, 2021
    Garfield gives a fantastic performance here but he's surrounded by a movie that rather aggressively demands the audience feel certain emotions rather than allowing them to experience those things naturally.
    Alec B Super Reviewer

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