Seeing The World Through a Writer’s Vision


Jackson Adams, Writer

Writing can be tricky. Some people may sit in silence, staring at their laptop or journal, waiting for an idea to come to their head. Even writing an opening to this review took a lot of thought. So, the writer sits there, letting their brain do the work as the clock ticks and time begins to get faster. Tick… tick… tick… until eventually… there is a BOOM! That boom is when many writers FINALLY get an idea of what they are trying to write and how to write it. The idea they had been looking for finally hit them in the face! But how does that have anything to do with the movie I am talking about?  

Ironically, Tick Tick Boom is that exact idea of a writer struggling to write an idea that, while it hangs over their head, they do not know how to start it. The movie features Andrew Garfield, who plays Jonathan Larson, a man who aspires to write and produce a successful Broadway musical for the entire world to see.  

Firstly, the movie itself is based on the actual autobiographical musical written by Jonathan Larson, featuring the same name as the movie… Tick, Tick… Boom. It is all a true story about the brilliant composer and how he eventually, through all his blood, sweat, and tears, had his first “successful” workshop of his musical that he had worked so hard on. The plot was enjoyable and even got to the point of becoming emotional somewhere around the end. There were LOTS of moments in this movie that I felt were relatable. When Jonathan sat in front of a blank laptop in the darkness of his room, it reminded me of how I usually would feel when I am trying to write an essay, staring at my paper or screen, and waiting for something to come to mind.  

The songs in this movie are fantastic! Like my last review about La La Land, this movie is also a musical and features some excellent and memorable songs. They were catchy, upbeat, and emotional all at the same time.  

My favorite song from the movie is “Therapy,” where Jonathan and his girlfriend, Susan, who ends up being played by a girl named Karessa in the actual musical, get into an argument with each other. They sing together as if they are talking in a couple’s therapy session. It is a chaotic song, but it quickly became the catchiest and most memorable song from the entire movie for me, and not just due to the craziness of the song but also due to the visuals of Jonathan and Karessa’s movements while singing, acting as if they are puppets.   

Speaking of Jonathan and Karessa, the actors who play them did a fantastic job encapsulating the characters. As previously mentioned, Andrew Garfield, who played Jonathan, was the big highlight of the movie. While he played the main character and got the most screen time, it felt like he WAS Jonathan Larson. Another highlight was Michael, Jonathan’s roommate, who Robin de Jesus played, and Susan, played by Alexandra Shipp. When it comes to singing, the highlight was Vanessa Hudgens, who played Karessa, the actor/vocalist who worked for Jonathan. Any song she was in became a favorite, and her singing was beautiful.  

In the end, the director Lin-Manuel Miranda, whom you may know for writing Hamilton, masterfully weaves the story together in a way to make sense to the viewer and properly delves deeper into the story of Jonathan Larson and his legacy. If you are into Broadway, stage plays, or even just writing in general, then this movie is well worth the watch.