These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Adaptation Displacement: The musical is probably more well-known in some circles than La Boheme, the opera it was based off of.
Base Breaker: Angel. Some fans love her for being one of the show's most unique characters and a Messianic Archetype and some fans hate him because of the Christ-like status the other characters give him (that and killing Evita).
Beauty Is Never Tarnished : In the film version, for someone who's dying of exposure, AIDS, and drug addiction, Mimi looks like, well, Rosario Dawson with minimal makeup.
Awesome Music: Finale B. It incorporates several songs from before in an all-out, heartwrenching, and simply awesome finale, with the entire cast. Higher voices get one layer, lower ones get another, and the melodies simply interact with perfection. Heck, Angel even sings in it! This is evident in the Broadway version, as s/he runs out to join them in the end. Not so much in the movie, but if you listen closely you can hear him/her.
In an alternate ending available on the DVD, Angel DOES come out for it.
"La Vie Boheme". Loud, raucous, and infectious, complete with table-dancing, mooning, and "up-yours" gestures. If you're not singing and dancing along by the time Mark hits "To days of inspiration, playing hooky, making something out of nothing...", there's something wrong.
Pretty much every song has its fans for one reason or another.
Christmas Bells for its almost mind-bogglingly complex harmony, especially starting at about the 5:15 mark. Not only that, but it continues to build the characters' various relationships and plot lines simultaneously yet still in a way that's astonishingly easy to follow onstage. It's not a song that can work as a stand-alone, like many in the play, but it's a standout piece nonetheless.
Dawson Casting: Mimi "You look like you're 16." "I'm 19, but I'm old for my age." Marquez.
The original Broadway cast were ten years older when they reprised their roles in the film. Having said that, all of them still looked young enough that it didn't matter. This is exactly why Fredi Walker (the original Joanne) didn't come back; she thought she looked too old to play a recent law school grad.
Designated Hero: How much you like the show may be limited to the amount of sympathy you're willing to feel for somewhat elitist and morally questionable (read: dog-killing) characters complaining about poverty they imposed on themselves.
Designated Villain: Benny, to an extent. Although he keeps telling the main characters to pay the rent or be evicted, on closer scrutiny he doesn't really do anything that bad. His biggest crime seems to be being a yuppie snob. And then there are those times when the main characters annoy or freak him out for no apparent reason (i.e., the "La Vie Boheme" sequence). And especially in the stage version, it's made clear he does have the best intentions for Mimi.
Ending Fatigue: After the non-stop action of the first act, the second act seems a bit disjointed by comparison, allegedly due to the author never completing his revisions to the script.
That's partially a structural thing as well: the first act has no scene breaks and (on stage at least) depicts almost in Real Time the course of one Christmas Eve. Then the second act brings in lot of Time Skips because it gives an overview of the year that follows.
Esoteric Happy Ending: Mimi is revived from the dead...but as the rest of the cast points out, she'll probably only live for a week at most. Roger will have to watch her die twice. Not to mention that he and Collins are still terminally ill.
Family-Unfriendly Aesop: Being unemployed is preferable to paying your dues at a sensationalist tabloid show, where you're paid more per story than most journalists earn in a month.
Fanon: It's generally accepted among fans that Roger and Mimi got HIV from intravenus drug use, while Collins and Angel got it from unprotected sex. While there are certainly nudges in those directions (especially in Roger's case), it's never actually confirmed where any of them got it.
Heartwarming Moments: On opening night, the day after Larson's very sudden death, the entire cast paid tribute by performing the musical that night sitting down at a table on the stage. By the time they reached La Vie Boheme, they realized they couldn't do the song justice without getting up and acting crazy and that Jonathan would have wanted them to do it right. Cue Anthony Rapp (Mark) getting on the table and starting the song, with the rest of the cast following—not just because it was supposed to happen, but because they got genuinely caught up in the song.
In "Over the Moon", she sings about meeting a cow named, "Elsie". Replace the last two letters with "a". She also proclaims that getting in stuck in Cyberland feels like getting "tied to the hood of a yellow rental truck...pushed over a cliff by a suicidal Mickey Mouse." Who knew back then that Idina Menzel would work for the Mouse House multiple times (starting with Enchanted)?
Never Live It Down: Angel killed a dog. It doesn't help that we're introduced to her bragging about it.
The Scrappy: Maureen. Partially because she and Joanne are often seen as being unnecessary for the story, but mostly because she's an attention seeker who treats her lover like crap.
Seinfeld Is Unfunny: A lot of modern audiences, no longer familiar with the specter of AIDS as a death sentence due to advances in medicine and AIDS research, can view the play and wonder what all the drama is about when the diagnoses and revelations thereof are made. This was taken into account by Word of God when making the movie by replacing the Mind Screw of "Contact" with the very realistic, painful, and heartbreaking depiction of Angel's death during the montage scenes of "Without You". The montage of the support group members fading away as they died was also included for this reason.
Multiple fans can't get through "Goodbye Love" without crying.
Hey! Did you forget "Finale B"? Or "Life Support" or "Will I?"
"Halloween" is a quieter one.
Unfortunate Implications: Despite Rent's diverse cast, the two central characters whom we spend the most time with are the two straight white guys. Also, the only character who dies is Angel Dumott Schunard, a gay drag queen. Mimi, who's done some objectionable things but is straight, manages to live, at least for a little while.
We're Still Relevant, Dammit: One of the reasons the film flopped was because it came out ten years too late to talk to the youth culture the show captivated in the '90s.
Collins. Admit it, you wanted to give him a hug during the Dark Reprise of "I'll Cover You".
Mark—hiding behind a camera to avoid facing the inevitable fact that his friends will die, and faking smiles to attempt to seem the pillar of the group? Awwwwww.
Mimi is so hopelessly in love with Roger, it makes you want to smack him for throwing her out. She also seems to have trouble saving herself from self-destructive decisions, so add that to the woobie pile.
Tracie Thoms made Joanne especially Woobie-ish in the movie version as well. Even though she's supposed to be stronger and more uptight, Tracie is just so helpless-looking sometimes.