Rent (film)

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Theatrical release poster
Directed byChris Columbus
Screenplay byStephen Chbosky
Based onRent
by Jonathan Larson
La bohème
by Giacomo Puccini
Luigi Illica
Giuseppe Giacosa
Scenes of Bohemian Life
by Henri Murger
Produced byJane Rosenthal
Robert De Niro
Chris Columbus
Mark Radcliffe
Michael Barnathan
StarringRosario Dawson
Taye Diggs
Wilson Jermaine Heredia
Jesse L. Martin
Idina Menzel
Adam Pascal
Anthony Rapp
Tracie Thoms
CinematographyStephen Goldblatt
Edited byRichard Pearson
Music byJonathan Larson
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release dates
  • November 17, 2005 (2005-11-17) (Ziegfeld Theatre)
  • November 23, 2005 (2005-11-23) (United States)
Running time
135 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$40 million
Box office$31.7 million

Rent is a 2005 American musical drama film directed by Chris Columbus. It is an adaptation of Jonathan Larson's 1996 Broadway musical of the same name, in turn based on the 1896 opera La bohème by Giacomo Puccini, by Giacomo Puccini, Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, which is itself based on the 1851 novel Scenes of Bohemian Life by Henri Murger.

The film, which features six of the eight original Broadway cast members reprising their lead roles,[a][b] depicts the lives of several bohemians and their struggles with sexuality, drugs, paying their rent, and life under the shadow of AIDS in the gritty East Village of New York City from 1989 to 1990.

The film received mixed reviews from critics who praised the performances but criticized its writing, casting, and direction. It failed to cover its production costs at the box office.


On Christmas Eve 1989, aspiring filmmaker Mark Cohen, and his roommate, Roger Davis, learn that the rent previously waived by their old friend and now landlord, Benjamin "Benny" Coffin III, is due ("Rent"). Meanwhile, their former roommate Tom Collins shows up and gets mugged. Mark and Roger meet with Benny, who tells them he plans to evict the homeless from the nearby lot and build a cyber studio ("You'll See"). He offers them free rent if they get Maureen, Mark's ex-girlfriend, to cancel her protest against his plans, but they refuse.

A street drummer, Angel, finds Collins and they bond since they are both HIV positive. Roger, who is also HIV-positive as well as a former drug addict, tries to compose one last great song before he dies ("One Song Glory"). He's visited by his downstairs neighbor, Mimi, an erotic dancer and heroin addict who tries to convince him to do heroin together despite her own HIV+ status ("Light My Candle").

On Christmas Day, Mark and Roger are visited by Collins and Angel, now in full drag, bearing gifts ("Today 4 U"). They invite Mark and Roger to attend Life Support, an AIDS support group. Roger turns them down, while Mark goes to fix Maureen's sound equipment. He runs into Joanne, Maureen's new girlfriend, who bonds with him as they discuss Maureen's promiscuity ("Tango: Maureen"). Mark arrives at the Life Support meeting ("Life Support"). He films the meeting for the documentary that he's making about people living with HIV/AIDS.

That night, Mimi visits Roger ("Out Tonight"). Roger, whose ex-girlfriend died by suicide after discovering she (and Roger) were HIV positive, rebukes her advances and throws her out ("Another Day"). The next day, he joins Mark, Collins and Angel at a Life Support meeting ("Will I?"). Leaving the meeting, the group imagines what it would be like to move to Santa Fe, New Mexico ("Santa Fe"). Roger and Mark leave to help Maureen set up for her performance, and Angel and Collins reveal they are falling in love ("I'll Cover You"). Maureen performs her song that calls out Benny for changing who he was when he got married and blames him for trying to shut down the tent city ("Over the Moon"). The performance starts a riot because Benny called in police to make sure the protest stayed peaceful, but it escalated into violence. Once the protest is over, the group goes to The Life Cafe and celebrates Mark selling his riot footage to a local news station ("La Vie Bohème" or "La Vie Bohème A"). Roger and Mimi reveal they are falling for each other, and reveal they are HIV positive ("I Should Tell You"). They kiss, start a relationship and continue celebrating with their friends ("Viva La Vie Bohème!" or "La Vie Bohème B").

On New Years Day, Benny has padlocked the apartment, but Angel breaks the lock with a garbage can. Mark takes a job at Buzzline, the television news program that he sold his riot footage to. After another fight, Maureen proposes to Joanne; the relationship ends when Maureen flirts with another woman at the engagement party ("Take Me or Leave Me"). After being persuaded by Mimi, his ex-girlfriend, Benny gives the group back their apartment. Over the following year, Roger grows distrustful of Mimi due to her massive usage of drugs, and their relationship ends ("Without You"). Angel becomes more ill and eventually succumbs to AIDS. At Angel's funeral on Halloween, the group goes their separate ways after a bitter argument, although Maureen and Joanne reconcile in the process ("I'll Cover You/Goodbye Love").

Roger sells his guitar, buys a car, and moves to Santa Fe. He eventually returns to New York because he still loves Mimi, while Mark quits his job at Buzzline to pursue his own film ("What You Own").

On Christmas Eve 1990, Mark and Roger reunite with Collins, who reveals that he has reprogrammed an ATM to dispense cash when someone inputs the code: A-N-G-E-L. Joanne and Maureen find Mimi on the streets, near death. Mimi and Roger reconcile, and he sings the song that he has written over the past year ("Finale A/Your Eyes"). Mimi appears to die but suddenly awakens. She tells them that she was heading to the light, but Angel told her to go back. As Mark's documentary is shown for the first time, the friends reaffirm that there is "no day but today" ("Finale B").


Main characters[edit]

  1. ^ a b The Broadway originator in the role of Mimi, Daphne Rubin-Vega, was pregnant at the time of the movie's casting and filming.[1]
  2. ^ a b The Broadway originator in the role of Joanne, Fredi Walker, had been the oldest of the main cast when the stage production premiered in 1996 – older at that time than some of the main cast were by the time of the film. She stated that she was not offered the film role due to her age, but did request that the producers cast an actress of African descent for the film.[3]

Minor characters[edit]

Alternate ending[edit]

In addition to four deleted scenes, the DVD release of the film includes an alternate ending, showing all the main characters (including Benny, who was not present in the other ending) except Angel standing in the positions where they were during the "Seasons of Love" opening, all standing in a line of spotlights, with Angel's spot empty. Later in the scene, she enters from the side and walks down the line to take her place, stopping as she passes Collins to take his hand for a moment. Although this tableau is used in the finale of the musical, it was dropped from the film for fear that audiences may have wondered why Angel had returned or why the characters were lined up on stage again. In the commentary, Chris Columbus adds that he "didn't want audiences to think that everything was okay and Angel was alive again."

Differences between the stage and film versions[edit]

  • "Goodbye Love" was filmed in its entirety, but the second half was cut from the film because Columbus considered it somewhat of an emotional overload, as he states on the DVD's commentary track.
  • The film leaves ambiguous the death of Roger's girlfriend April, who dies before Rent begins. In the film, she is seen reading a doctor's report that she is HIV positive; it is stated that she has died, but nothing more is said. In the stage version, Mark explicitly states that April ended her life by slitting her wrists in the bathroom, and Roger found out about his HIV status in the suicide note. Chris Columbus states in the DVD commentary that a scene featuring April lying in the bathtub with her wrists slit was filmed, but cut because he thought it would be "too much".


Rent: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack is the soundtrack album to the 2005 film of the same name. The two-disc soundtrack, containing 28 tracks, was originally packaged in eight different slipcovers, each featuring one of the eight most prominent characters in the film.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Seasons of Love" – Joanne, Collins, Mimi, Roger, Maureen, Mark, Angel & Benny
  2. "Rent" – Mark, Roger, Collins, Mimi, Benny & Tenants
  3. "You'll See" – Roger, Mark & Benny
  4. "One Song Glory" – Roger
  5. "Light My Candle" – Roger & Mimi
  6. "Today 4 U" – Angel & Collins
  7. "Tango: Maureen" – Joanne & Mark
  8. "Life Support" – Roger, Angel, Collins, Gordon, Steve, Paul, Ali, Pam & Sue
  9. "Out Tonight" – Mimi
  10. "Another Day" – Roger, Mimi, Collins, Mark & Angel
  11. "Will I?" – Roger, Angel, Collins, Mark, Gordon, Steve, Paul, Ali, Pam & Sue
  12. "Santa Fe" – Angel, Collins, Roger & Mark
  13. "I'll Cover You" – Angel & Collins
  14. "Over The Moon" – Maureen
  15. "La Vie Bohème" * – Cast of Rent
  16. "I Should Tell You" – Roger & Mimi
  17. "La Vie Bohème B" * – Mimi, Mark, Angel, Collins, Maureen, Joanne & Roger
  18. "Seasons of Love B" – Cast of Rent
  19. "Take Me or Leave Me" – Maureen & Joanne
  20. "Without You" – Mimi & Roger
  21. "I'll Cover You (Reprise)" – Collins & Company
  22. "Halloween" – Mark
  23. "Goodbye Love" * – Mimi, Roger, Benny, Maureen, Joanne, Mark & Collins
  24. "What You Own" – Roger & Mark
  25. "Finale A" – Mimi & Roger
  26. "Your Eyes" – Roger
  27. "Finale B* " – Cast of Rent
  28. "Love Heals" – Cast of Rent


Critical response[edit]

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 47% of 174 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 5.9/10. The website's consensus reads: "Fans of the stage musical may forgive Rent its flaws, but weak direction, inescapable staginess and an irritating faux-boho pretension prevent the film from connecting on screen. "[4] Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 53 out of 100, based on 35 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[5]

Film critic Roger Ebert praised the film's performances but criticized its story, writing that he did not believe the film works on its own without "reference to the theatrical version."[6] David Rooney of Variety praised the performances of Rosario Dawson, Tracie Thoms, and Jesse L. Martin, but criticized the film's decision to enlist most of the show’s original cast, writing that the choice raises questions as to why these people, "some of them clearly pushing 40", are still "floundering in artsy aimlessness."[7]

Box office[edit]

Rent grossed $29.1 million in the United States and Canada, and $2.6 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $31.7 million, against a budget of $40 million.[8]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ Gans, Andrew (October 13, 2012). "DIVA TALK: Chatting with Les Miz's Daphne Rubin-Vega PLUS News of LuPone, D'Abruzzo and Murphy". Playbill. Archived from the original on 2023-08-06. Retrieved 2023-08-05.
  2. ^ "MJ Rodriguez Talks Her Transition and Hamilton Audition | Playbill". Playbill. 7 June 2016. Retrieved 2018-10-30.
  3. ^ Billey, Catherine (2005-09-04). "Nine Years in the Life". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2023-04-04.
  4. ^ "Rent". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 2023-08-03. Edit this at Wikidata
  5. ^ "Rent". Metacritic. Fandom, Inc. Retrieved 2023-08-03.
  6. ^ Ebert, Roger (2005-11-22). "Coming up a little short on 'Rent'". Retrieved 2023-03-07.
  7. ^ Rooney, David (2005-11-20). "Rent". Variety. Retrieved 2023-03-07.
  8. ^ "Rent". Box Office Mojo. IMDb. Retrieved 2023-08-04.Edit this at Wikidata


External links[edit]