Rent is a 2019 movie adaptation of the highly acclaimed Broadway musical of the same name. Directed by Michael Greif and screenplay by Tony Award winner Stephen Chbosky, it tells the story of a group of struggling artists who are living in Manhattan's East Village during the HIV/AIDS crisis in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The movie was released on January 27, 2019, and stars Vanessa Hudgens as the enigmatic exotic dancer Mimi Marquez, Jordan Fisher as Mark Cohen, an aspiring filmmaker and Tinashe as the Ivy League-educated performer and activist Joanne Jefferson. The film features several musical numbers, including the memorable hits "Seasons of Love" and "La Vie Boheme."
The story follows the lives of Mark, Mimi, Joanne, and their friends that include a songwriter named Roger Davis, played by Brennin Hunt, and his HIV-positive friend Tom Collins, played by Brandon Victor Dixon. Throughout the movie, the characters confront the realities of living with the disease, navigating their relationships, and pursuing their dreams.
Mark is the narrator of the story, and much of the movie is filmed from his perspective. He is the quintessential outsider and a self-proclaimed filmmaker who is documenting his friends' lives, first with an old-fashioned camera, and then later with a digital camera he upgrades to. Mark is dealing with a break-up with his longtime girlfriend, who has moved on to someone else, and his own artistic frustrations. Yet, he is the glue that holds the group together, documenting their journey and chronicling their struggles.
Roger, on the other hand, is a formerly successful musician who has lost his inspiration after the death of his girlfriend from the disease. He is grappling with his own diagnosis and the fear that he may never be able to write or perform music again. His romantic interest in Mimi, who is also HIV-positive, adds another layer of complexity to his character arc.
Mimi is a vivacious, fun-loving, and seductive exotic dancer who is also living with HIV. Throughout the film, she struggles to keep her disease under control and to stay healthy. Her attraction to Roger is obvious, but their relationship is fraught with difficulties, given his own struggles.
Joanne is an Ivy League-educated lawyer who is deeply involved in activism on behalf of the community, and she is also in a loving relationship with the performance artist Maureen, played by Kiersey Clemons. Joanne's love for Maureen is strong, but Maureen is a charismatic and fiery personality who struggles to remain committed to anyone for long, and their relationship is tested as a result.
Tom Collins is a professor and intellectual who is the mentor and friend of all the characters in the film. He is HIV-positive and somewhat of a role model for the others, who look up to him as a survivor and an inspiration. His relationship with Angel Dumott Schunard, played by Valentina, is a highlight of the film. Angel is a trans performer who falls in love with Tom, and their relationship is sweet, funny, and touching.
The movie depicts the struggles and challenges of living with HIV/AIDS in the late 1980s and early 1990s honestly and realistically. It deals with themes of love, loss, friendship, activism, and community, showing how the characters rely on each other to get through the tough times. The musical numbers are outstanding, and the energy and enthusiasm of the cast are infectious.
Overall, Rent is a moving and powerful story of artists who are struggling to survive in a world that is hostile to their dreams and their existence. The movie's message is one of hope and resilience, showing how even in the darkest of times, the human spirit can triumph. It is an essential movie for anyone who loves musicals, and it is sure to leave audiences impressed and moved.