Sometimes I listen to RENT and wonder if Larson had any idea how prophetic that statement would be. Whatever isolation was being felt a decade ago is multiplied by a thousand these days, I think. With cell phones, PDA's, internet, email...it's hard to really connect. I talked to my stepmom last night for about an hour. I don't think I've talked to her on the phone in almost a year. It was good, yet strange. This blog is not about that, though...this blog is about RENT.
I went to see RENT a week ago. Images from the movie still replay in my mind. I see Angel dying and I hear the soul-tormented voice of Collins singing the reprise to "I'll Cover You." I see the roses on the casket at the funeral. I hear Joanne and Maureen fighting through their own fears in "Take Me or Leave Me." I see the searching heart of Mimi and the broken rocker righteousness of Roger. I see his family and friends losing and finding each other through Mark's eyes.
I was alternately excited and worried about this movie. Excited because it became one of my favorite musicals in high school--long before I had even seen it on the stage. My RENT experiences have always been some of my favorite memories with Liz, no matter how cold or rainy it was while sitting outside hoping to get front row tickets. I was worried because there is something about RENT that I don't think can be brought to life away from the stage. It is a stage musical--every performance I have seen has been affected by the way the audience reacts to what they're seeing. You don't get that interaction in a movie theater.
However, I was not disappointed. After getting the sung dialogue out of my head, I found myself loving my favorite story of my favorite characters in a whole new way. It was worth leaving work a little early to go see. It would be worth it to do it again today. It was magical--for those two hours, I was caught up in a story that is set in time, but completely timeless. My least favorite song in the musical became one of my favorite movie memories. I don't think it's fair to compare the two--they are separate, authentic, moving tellings of the same story.
If you love musicals, see it.
If you've ever loved another person, see it.
If you've ever been touched by humanity, see it.
If you've ever felt isolated, see it.