Andrew Garfield clearly had the time of his life with this and was wonderful. The music is also excellent; thankfully, Miranda didn’t try to make it his own. Miranda directs this competently, and it’s mostly fine, but it’s clearly a passion project from a new director. 

I don’t like Miranda’s work generally. I feel like he’s very loud and very intense, but doesn’t have taste. So of course he loves Jonathan Larson (sorry, but I hated Rent when I saw it many years ago). As a result, this is a competent film which often feels like it has bad taste. Why cut here? Why this angle? Why have these singers occasionally sing in chorus instead of harmony (especially when it sounds disconcerting enough to twist my stomach)? Why have fake vintage footage? Why have an out of place voice over abruptly end the movie, instead of your usual text on the screen? 

But this is Miranda’s first movie as a director. He has time to develop taste. 

That being said, the story here is interesting and sad and poetic and beautiful, often despite the people involved. Thankfully, the material rises above its players. Much of this is thanks to Garfield, who was absolutely and obviously a theatre kid. He clearly gets this material.

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