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Gemma’s Gem of the Week: tick, tick…BOOM! Accurately Depicts Young Adulthood

Gemma’s Gem of the Week: tick, tick…BOOM! Accurately Depicts Young Adulthood

tick, tick…BOOM! 2021. USA. Directed by Lin-Manuel Miranda. Screenplay by Steven Levenson. With Andrew Garfield, Vanessa Hudges, Bradley Whitford, Robin de Jesús.

Andrew Garfield stars in this musically charismatic, charming, and captivating film that released in rather impeccable timing. Transitioning into our 30s or not, we are all collectively moving forward in the midst of a challenging period. Through brilliant execution and the immeasurable talents of the cast and team, young adulthood is depicted with genuine wit and touching honesty.

Andrew Garfield in tick, tick…BOOM! 2021.

Jonathon is on the brink of turning 30, and the introductory song “30/90” accelerates in a way that reflects the film’s theme of racing against the clock. He speaks of feeling behind, mentioning how Sondheim’s Broadway career launched at just 27 years old.

The urgency of this song depicts Jonathon’s racing thoughts that, like the world around him, don’t seem to be slowing down. Many of us can relate to feeling behind, as if there’s a deadline on where we should be before 30. The truth is, our lives don’t come with pre-arranged “one size fits all” agreements; these are merely biases we’re taught to believe in.

De Jesús and Andrew Garfield in tick, tick…BOOM! 2021.

Stability is a particularly alluring temptation many of us crave. In “Boho Days,” Jonathon sings of the starving artist culture he resides in. Once Michael, Jonathon’s best friend, accepts a high-paying job, Jonathon witnesses an alternate lifestyle that contrasts to his own.

Upon his musical initially being rejected, Jonathon pleads Michael for a job, craving the societally “acceptable” and “easier” way of living. Michael protests, insisting this lifestyle isn’t everything it seems on paper.

Alexandra Shipp in tick, tick…BOOM! 2021.

“Come To Your Senses” responds to these expectations through a beautifully vulnerable wake up call. Jonathon has been losing himself in his work, which consequentially caused him to become distant to Susan, his partner. Though unintentional, there is an adamant imbalance between Jonathon’s career and relationship.

Susan has been holding onto the hope that Jonathon will come back around, but to no avail. She sings, “Baby be real, you can feel again. You don’t need a music box melody to know what I mean,” stressing that he doesn’t need to disconnect in order to feel safe.

“Come back alive,” the final lyric, captures Susan’s final attempt of hope for their relationship before the two part ways.

Andrew Garfield in tick, tick…BOOM! 2021.

The cast and team of “tick, tick…BOOM” have truly created a breathtaking, memorable, and impactful piece of art that undoubtedly did Jonathan Larson proud.

Song of the Week: “30/90″ from tick…tick…BOOM!



Gemma Farquhar is the writer of "Gemma's Gem of the Week" and author of "The Shape of Something New." She is passionate about the future of storytelling and welcomes all ages to her column.

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