I saw Rent this weekend at the $2 theater and it was totally worth it. Of course I also now have Seasons of Love running through my head every fifteen minutes. A few years ago this would have been something I would have seen opening night with a group of theater friends. Well I don’t have any theater friends anymore and I didn’t have the money for a first run showing so I saw it for two bucks with a confused dancer.
Early on I was trying to keep mental notes of what I was seeing and feeling so I could blog about it accurately later but realized soon after that it was affecting my enjoyment of the movie so I stopped thinking and just started feeling. Rent is melodramatic, silly, and a bit too serious is places but I still found myself tapping my foot along to the rocking numbers and felt a lump in my throat during some of the more emotional moments. The biggest enjoyment of this movie for me was matching faces to the voices of the original cast recording I first fell in love with. By the time I saw the show on Broadway in 2001, the original cast had moved on and the current cast just didn’t do it for me.
For some reason though, its easier to buy bohemians in NYC breaking out sporadically in song on stage than it is on a movie screen. By trying to ground the movie in so much of the gritty reality of early 1990’s New York, it loses the fantastical aura needed to make the musical aspect a bit easier to swallow. The biggest plus of seeing Rent on screen though was that it made it easier to follow the story. This is why I liked The Phantom of the Opera so much. On stage, Rent had such a bare stage that it was hard to keep tract of exactly where every scene was set or what was supposed to be happening.
All in all, I wouldn’t have felt cheated if I’d paid top price for the movie and will probably buy it when it comes out on DVD.