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Rent DVD Release

Rent

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating

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Rent DVD Release
Sony Pictures
  • Directed by Chris Columbus
  • PG-13
  • 135 Minutes
  • Genre: Musical/Rock Opera
  • Official site for the Movie
  • Cast: Anthony Rapp, Adam Pascal, Rosario Dawson, Jesse L. Martin, Wilson Jermaine Heredia

I love Rent!

I first saw Rent in 1996, weeks after its opening. My oldest brother surprised me with tickets. We sat in the fourth row and from the moment the curtain went up, we were riveted. By the music, the story, the individual characters, the love and magic and passion dramatically performed and embodied on stage. We left weeping and high and humming the lyrics of the show’s memorable songs.

When I heard that a movie was in production, I was wary. How could anything come close to the original? Nearly ten years later, I found myself mesmerized once again. Here are my top reasons to see Rent.

1. La Vie Boheme

Based on Puccini’s opera La Boheme, Rent tells the story of a group of bohemian artists struggling to live and pay rent in New York City’s edgy East Village during the 1980s. They face numerous challenges including poverty, eviction, drug addiction, AIDS as well as more universal ones of love, commitment, and identity. They strive to live truthfully in a world that wants to denounce and deny their truths. Their struggles are as real and relevant today.

2. Seasons of Love

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes, how do you measure the year in a life? This question permeates the story and it is the quest of each the characters as well as the audience to answer it.

3. Rosario Dawson

I first fell in love with Rosario Dawson when she appeared in Kids; then, again, when I saw her in 25th Hour. Wow!! I can’t quite describe the sensation(s) I felt when seeing her in Rent. Let’s just say “fishnet stockings.” I nearly fainted. Can’t wait for the DVD!

4. Lions and Tigers and Queers, Oh My!

Wouldn’t that make a great title for a children’s book? Yet another item for my list of things to do. There are many, many queers in this movie! Reason enough to see it and then tell all your friends and family and colleagues and congregants to go! They exist. They are fact. They are truth and beauty and vital, vibrant lenses through which to view the world.

Speaking of vibrant–there is a rather fiery lesbian couple, Maureen (played by the seductive Idina Menzel) and Joanne (played with subtle potency by Tracie Thoms), in the film. Watch them flirt and spar and declare their commitment to each other as well as their independence. One of their resonant duets is entitled, “Take me or Leave me.” Word of advice: memorize the song. You may need it some day. (Honey, “Take me for what I am. Who I was meant to be. And if you give a damn. Take me baby or leave me.”…Hmmmm…We’ll see how that goes over.)

5. Jonathan Larson

Jonathan Larson was the brilliant mind behind Rent. On the night of the show’s final dress rehearsal, he collapsed and died of an aortic aneurysm. He was thirty-five years old. Rent was a reflection of the life he knew and wanted to live, a life of passionate, creative expression. His life and death are symbolic reminders of what little time we have, that there is “no day but today.”

My Rating: 4 ½ Stars

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