Andrew Garfield Proves He Really Can Do Anything in tick, tick…BOOM!

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Having high expectations of a musical movie directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda is one thing. Being completely blown away by Andrew Garfield’s performance as Jonathan Larson and thinking to myself, ‘I had no idea he could do that,’ is another. tick, tick…BOOM! is hands down Garfield’s breakthrough performance.

“He’s just one of the best actors of his generation,” Lin-Manuel Miranda says about Andrew Garfield. “I saw him in Angels in America, which is an eight-hour endurance test masterpiece of a play, and he just gave me the most shattering performance I’ve ever seen. I was just like, ‘I don’t know if he can sing, but I think he can do anything.’ And he can; that’s the answer.”

tick, tick…BOOM! (L-R) ANDREW GARFIELD as JONATHAN LARSON, ALEXANDRA SHIPP as SUSAN in tick, tick…BOOM!. Cr. COURTESY OF NETFLIX

Miranda makes his directorial film debut with tick, tick…BOOM! The film is an adaptation of the autobiographical play Tick, Tick…Boom! written and performed by Jonathan Larson before his life was cut short by an aortic aneurysm. The story takes a look at the struggling composer and playwright during the late 80s and early 90s. Some of the struggles that Larson later wrote about in Rent. The movie moves in and out of being the original stage performance and scenes from Larson’s life.

“I just feel so grateful because it’s one of my favorite experiences I’ve ever had,” Andrew Garfield says about his role as Jonathan Larson. “Lin is the reason why I’m able to be standing here. He took a risk on me, not knowing if I could hold a tune. And he gave me the space, the time, and the resources to make sure that I could get to the place where I’m banging out passionately at the piano and belting out to the back row as Jonathan, who played with pure passion and just pure aliveness. He was the most alive world person in that time, and so I knew I needed to get to that place.”

tick, tick…BOOM! (L-R) ANDREW GARFIELD as JONATHAN LARSON in tick, tick…BOOM!. Cr. MACALL POLAY/NETFLIX © 2021

The song Sunday may seem like a simple song in lyrics, but Miranda pulled out all the big guns for this performance. Cameos from some of the biggest names on Broadway all make an appearance to pay tribute to Larson (and maybe Miranda as well).

“Jonathan Larson is the reason I started writing musicals,” Miranda says. “His show was what showed me it was possible and he should be here enjoying all of this. He should be on this 10th musical and he’s not, so I wanted to bring the musical that really strengthened my resolve to get into this business to the screen, and hopefully, it’s going to hit other artists where they live because it hit me really hard when I saw it.”

Garfield is joined by a phenomenal supporting cast as well. Vanessa Hudgens almost steals the show with her magnificent voice, but Garfield commands every scene with his presence. I assume Larson had the same presence in a room. It’s a shame Larson couldn’t see his work admired and seen for years. It makes watching tick, tick…BOOM! that much harder knowing that such a creative mind was lost too early in his career. A career that he thought was ticking away and passing him by without a big break. The man was highly talented, and seeing him honored this way is beautiful.

tick, tick…BOOM! is now playing in select theaters and streaming on Netflix on November 19th.

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 is 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! stars Academy Award nominee & Tony Award winner Andrew Garfield, Alexandra Shipp, Tony Award nominee Robin de Jesús, Tony Award nominee Joshua Henry, Emmy nominee MJ Rodriguez, Emmy Award winner Bradley Whitford, Tariq Trotter, with Emmy and Tony Award winner Judith Light, and Vanessa Hudgens. The film is written by Tony Award winner Steven Levenson, and produced by Academy Award winners Brian Grazer and Ron Howard for Imagine Entertainment, Julie Oh, and Lin-Manuel Miranda.

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Meghan Cooper is a writer, content creator, movie critic, and geek living in Atlanta, Ga. She loves movies, traveling, and lots of coffee. Member of the Southeastern Film Critics Association, Georgia Film Critics Association, and Atlanta Film Critics Circle. Buy me a coffee

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