Entertainment Weekly - 12/02/2005
"[A] joyful surprise....[The director] has opened up the show, turning it into a far more varied and flowing entertainment." -- Grade: A-
New York Times - 11/23/2005
"[The performers] bring the ardent conviction of young strivers to the material, which is just what it needs."
Rolling Stone - 03/09/2006
"[The director] leaves the musical's tender heart intact."
Sight and Sound - 04/01/2006
"[T]here's a relentless sincerity to RENT that's ultimately disarming....When the film succeeds, it does so because it manages to mine the emotional seams of painful premature death..."
Director Christopher Columbus (MRS. DOUBTFIRE, HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER'S STONE) adapts the hit Broadway musical of the same name to the big screen in RENT. A modern spin on the opera LA BOHEME, RENT tells the story of eight friends dealing with life and love in Manhattan's Alphabet City in 1989. Wannabe filmmaker Mark (Anthony Rapp) and singer/songwriter Roger (Adam Pascal) are facing eviction at the hands of their former roommate and current landlord, Benny (Taye Diggs). Benny has married rich, moved out of the neighborhood, and wants to build a state-of-the-art studio where the local tent city stands. Their downstairs neighbor, vivacious Mimi (Rosario Dawson), who strips at a local club to feed her heroin habit, takes a shine to Roger, a self-imposed recluse and former junkie whose last girlfriend died of AIDS. Their friend, Collins (Jesse L. Martin), returns to town and quickly falls for Angel (Wilson Jermaine Heredia), a glamorous, gracious, HIV positive transvestite. Finally, there is Maureen (Idina Menzel), a spitfire and performance artist who is planning a protest against Benny's plans and has dumped Mark for cerebral Joanne (Tracie Thoms), a lawyer.
Over the course of a year, the friends face poverty, drug addiction, break-ups, reconciliations, eviction, and AIDS. Despite these challenges, they find support, hope, and acceptance in each other, all the while embracing the bohemian lifestyle that was so much a part of the Lower East Side. Newcomers Dawson and Thoms mix seamlessly with the original cast members, and Columbus introduces some interesting staging locations. With a concept, music, and lyrics by the late Jonathan Larson, RENT is an exuberant rock-&-roll musical with the underlying message that love can prevail despite all odds and that, ultimately, there really is no day but today.
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