Wednesday, October 3, 2012

50x3: Rent (E-1)

Let me first preface this by saying I have obviously never seen the Broadway show that this film is based upon. After doing some research I did find out that most of the characters from the original Broadway cast reprised their role in the film, which was obviously a good choice.

Anyway, the film is title Rent (the first film from Erika) for many reasons - the most of which I believe is that the characters are showing us the we are all just 'renting' our time here on Earth and eventually our lease will be up. The more literal reason is pointed out that Mark Cohen (Anthony Rapp) and Roger Davis (Adam Pascal), who have been living in a rent-free apartment, all of a sudden are being notified that they need to pay a year's worth of rent.

Former friend and now husband of a girl whose father owns these buildings, Benjamin Coffin (Taye Diggs), is the one sending out the notices to those in the apartment. But, if Mark and Roger can somehow force Maureen Johnson (Idina Menzel) to not perform her protest, then their rent continues to be free.

A lot is happening in this film (show) over the course of  a year. Tom Collins (Jesse L. Martin) comes to visit his friends Mark, who is a struggling film maker, and Roger, who is a struggling musician. Before making it to the apartment, though, Tom is mugged and found in the street by Angel Dumott Schunard (Wilson Jermaine Heredia), a drag queen. Tom and Angel share a few things in common - both are gay and both just happen to have the AIDS virus.

Maureen is Mark's former girlfriend, who is now dating a lawyer named Joanne Jefferson (Tracie Thoms). Mark had never met Joanne, and for the longest time thought she was a man.

Finally we have Roger, who lost his girlfriend after she killed herself upon learning the both had contracted HIV - that we speculate was due to his use of drugs. He has sort of shut himself off from love while trying to write the perfect song - but a downstairs neighbor Mimi (Rosario Dawson) comes up to get a candle lit on a cold night and the two sort of hit it off. But, since Mimi is currently still using drugs, Roger kicks her out.

So much going on and, for the most part, we learn almost everything through song.

I would say that about 3/4 of the music in the film is outstanding, while some of the songs I felt were rather forced just to push the story along. But, I definitely came away with a lot of new songs stuck in my head - but especially the first song (though I had heard that one before).

The characters and the acting in this film were so amazing. Obviously using, for the most part, the same actors from the Broadway production was the right way to go. They had been these characters for awhile and knew how to portray them. I am not saying it would have been a terrible film if they had used different actors - but you can just tell that they really owned their characters.


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