Rent has always been one of those shows I've felt like I ought to have seen but haven't had the opportunity, so I was very interested to see the film adaptation. Having seen it, I can see why it was such a big deal, even though a lot of what made it provocative in 1996 has lost some of its edge. When a revolutionary show loses its shock value and people lose interest in the issues it presents the show often suffers--Hair is an example of that, in my opinion. Rent, though, manages to survive this transition largely due to the character drama and the great music. Six of the eight members of the original Broadway cast reprised their roles in this film adaptation, and I think that their familiarity with the characters really showed in the performances. The two newcomers, Rosario Dawson and Tracie Thoms, also integrated very well with their veteran counterparts. The only catch in my mind was that, as good as this movie was, it seemed like the stage musical would have been better. Throughout the film I kept finding myself wondering how scenes had been staged in the Broadway production. It seemed to me that the only thing really gained by turning it into a movie was that people got a chance to see it who otherwise might not have had the chance--like me, for example.
Viewed: 11/25/2005 | Released: 11/22/2005 | Score: A