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February 28, 2006

Rent - 4

In my book, this film has a few strikes against it going in. First, it is a musical, which already lowers it on my list (just a preference, I don't like musicals generally). Secondly, the story is confusing in that it is trying to straddle the fence as to whether the film is universally applicable to the human condition or if it is about a few particular people (My guess is that it's going for universal appeal which it doesn't do well). Finally, I have been lied to for the past 5 or so years since I heard about this musical, not intentionally, of course, but I had assumed that this was an original play about AIDS in NYC written by Jonathan Larson. In fact it is inspired by Puccini's opera La Boheme. Not that this is a crime, but it makes the story make more sense- it is essentially about the ideals of a generation (specifically what is labeled Generation X). This explains its popularity on the stage in 1996 and its less than stellar performance on screen in 2005. As musicals go the music is well done and the story has its moments, but in the end, rather than finding themselves, the characters get "lost in the cosmos."

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