At the beginning, “Rent” 1996 was a show performed on Broadway by Taye Diggs (Benny), Wilson Jermaine Heredia (Angel), Jesse L. Martin (Collins), Idina Menzel (Maureen), Adam Pascal (Roger), and Anthony Rapp (Mark). Created by creator Jonathan Larson, this rock opera got a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award just then. Ten years after, Chris Columbus adapted the story on the big screen with the same cast (except Rosario Dawson as Mimi).
This musical begin with all the cast lining up, performing the first song : Season of love.
Just at the title, you can imagine what kind of movie it will be : those dim-witted romantic movies … You’re all wrong. In reality, “Rent” tells the story of a group friends living the Bohemian life in New York City between 1989 – 1990. Among the group are :
Mark Cohen : love-struck filmmaker and penniless but still hope for a better life.
Roger Davis : HIV-positive musician and former junkie, trying hard to reconnect with music,
Maureen Johnson : Mark’s former girlfriend, artist in her free time
Joanne Jefferson : Harvard-educated public lawyer and Maureen’s girlfriend
Mimi Marquez : HIV-positive drug addicted dancer and Roger’s new girlfriend,
Tom Collins : HIV-positive computer genius, Mark and Roger’s former roommate
Benjamin Coffin III : a former member of the group who married for money…
And the last but not the least, Angel : HIV-positive drag queen street musician and Collins’ lover
To tell you the truth, I’ve never been in New York, so I can’t tell you how it was at that time (neither nowadays!) But, I’m sure the fear of AIDS, the shame in drug addiction or the pain of losing someone you love, those feelings are still the same. That makes this movie never outdated. Anyway, life is not easy for our bohemians : they are broke and still have to pay the rent, or it’s Christmas time and the only place where they can find friendly faces is at the HIV-meeting. But in the middle of all that misery and pain, they still can find love and hope. How? Not just by singing (their songs are really fabulous!!!) but by showing that they love to be alive, they are proud to be different (That’s where “La Vie Bohème” song take place!)
What would you do, how would you feel if you get to know that you have just one year left on earth? It makes you think about the way you lived and the way you want to live, right? Well, let me tell you, you never know what could happen, so don’t be anonymous, stop being so boring, try, make mistakes, dare take the risk, live each day intensely as if it was the last. The only regret we should have is not having enough time to live.
“There’s only us
There’s only this
Or life is yours to miss
No other road
No other way
No day but today”