Rent 2005

Critics score:
46 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Christine Dolen, Miami Herald: Now a vastly larger audience has the chance to experience the masterwork of a prodigiously talented man who died far too young. Read more

Moira MacDonald, Seattle Times: Most of the musical numbers aren't stylized (a natty tango number is an exception) but based in a Hollywood-gritty reality that at times feels silly. Read more

Tom Long, Detroit News: Rent is still Rent, and devotees should adore it while haters will hate it (there are, apparently, plenty of both). Read more

Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press: Too often seems like a late-season American Idol episode that's all Abdul encouragement without any Simon snarkiness. Read more

Kyle Smith, New York Post: Rent showcases the hipster trend of getting nostalgic about grime and crime: it's slumtimental. Read more

Scott Foundas, L.A. Weekly: Although Larson supposedly based Rent on people he knew, the whole enterprise feels as shallow, impersonal and opportunistic as one of those Hollywood action blockbusters designed to be easily translated into other languages and cultural idiom. Read more

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune: Read more

Ruthe Stein, San Francisco Chronicle: If nothing else, the movie reveals Jonathan Larson's musical to be an illuminating time capsule of a wild period immediately before and after the scourge of AIDS. Read more

Richard Roeper, Ebert & Roeper: The film captures the beautiful spirit and the raw energy of Larson's play, and it respects the wonderful, gorgeous, life-affirming music. Read more

Melinda Ennis, Atlanta Journal-Constitution: The movie makes the story accessible to everyone, without diminishing the musical's revolutionary, youthful heart. Read more

AV Club: Read more

Kyle Lawson, Arizona Republic: If Rent works -- and most of the time, it does so flawlessly -- it is because it remains Rent. Read more

Wesley Morris, Boston Globe: Yes, Rent is about penniless artists who can't afford to eat or pay their electric bills. But must their straits extend to the threadbare filmmaking, too? Read more

Carina Chocano, Los Angeles Times: Rent is commodified faux bohemia on a platter, eliciting the same kind of numbing soul-sadness as children's beauty pageants, tiny dogs in expensive boots, Mahatma Gandhi in Apple ads. Read more

Paul Clinton (, I've never seen the stage musical Rent, but the movie had me at hello. Read more

Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor: As directed by Columbus, Jonathan Larson's East Village reworking of 'La Boheme' in the age of AIDS retains its calisthenic pathos, as well as most of its original cast, but you'd have to be a real Rent-Head to envisage Academy Awards in its future. Read more

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post: Rent falls betwixt and between the odd intimacy of theater and the glorious bigness of film -- and vice versa. Read more

Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly: Time has been kind to the impoverished but sexy middle-class dropouts of Rent, who no longer come off as Broadway-mall versions of the last urban renegades in America. Read more

Chris Vognar, Dallas Morning News: There's still something staid and doggedly stagebound about this Rent, a reluctance to set out for someplace unique and engage the audience on purely cinematic terms. Read more

Bruce Newman, San Jose Mercury News: The scourge of rock-opera, a musical mutation that manages to combine the least savory elements of both with the advantages of neither. Read more

Jan Stuart, Newsday: No amount of confident theatrical pedigree will carry a movie musical in the wrong directorial hands. Read more

Lisa Rose, Newark Star-Ledger: Those who have an enduring affection for Rent should enjoy the film, at least on a nostalgia level. Read more

Jack Mathews, New York Daily News: Rent takes to the streets of New York and convulses in song and dance for nearly two solid hours. Read more

Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel: They're saying Rent was of its moment. They're saying that moment has passed. So the point of making the movie is . . . ? Read more

James Berardinelli, ReelViews: RENT is mediocre and recommended only to those who can claim a familiarity with the play. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: Those who haven't seen Rent on the stage will sense they're missing something, and they are. Read more

Stephanie Zacharek, Read more

David Edelstein, Slate: It's real -- and, on screen, it's really cringe-worthy. Not quite Phantom of the Opera cringe-worthy, but not as much fun to blow raspberries at, either. Read more

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune: Whatever qualities powered Rent to its numerous theater awards and long run onstage are missing from this charmless floperetta. Read more

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Read more

Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail: The music and direction feel generic but the cast deserves credit for squeezing every possible drop of emotion out of the material. Read more

Susan Walker, Toronto Star: Director Chris Columbus has done what any smart filmmaker would do with a musical and let the songs dictate his movie. Read more

Time Out: Read more

Ben Walters, Time Out: Read more

Mike Clark, USA Today: Stage original Taye Diggs, playing an erstwhile friend turned evictor, actually made a stronger screen impression in Malibu's Most Wanted. Read more

David Rooney, Variety: Chris Columbus has pasted the grungy La Boheme update onto film with slavish respect for the original material but a shortage of stylistic imagination and raw emotions. Read more

Jorge Morales, Village Voice: Rent is about as timely now as Gigi. Read more

Nelson Pressley, Washington Post: Onstage, Rent is a series of power surges, but in the movie the songs leave you flat. Read more