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Original Play

  • The fact that Jonathan wrote this play for his friend Matthew O'Grady. O'Grady himself admits that he was touched to be memorialized in such a way.
  • "No More": Michael introduces Jon to his new apartment and talks about the things that he won't miss from their cruddy shared space. Despite himself, Jon gets into the spirit of it and dacnes with Michael.
  • Unlike the film where Michael sings "Is This Real Life?" in the privacy of his office and breaking down, he sings it to Jon in a moment of vulnerability.
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Film

  • Michael is the best friend that everyone wants; he's The Heart of Jon's friend group, and provides emotional support to everyone who asks for it. Jon reiterates that Michael is the best actor he knows and wants him to go back into show business. When he earns enough to move into a spacious apartment on the inside, Michael's first response is to beg for Jon to move with him and take a job at the advertising firm where he works, while doing his musical work on the side. They share a sincere waltz in Michael's new digs with the refrain "I could get used to you."
  • Stephen Sondheim's support of Larson, in and out of universe. The voicemail he left for Larson is heartwarming enough in context: praising the show and encouraging the young composer to keep writing and move on to the next project, as that's the job of an artist. It serves as a Hope Spot for Larson to continue on after being devastated by the perceived failure of Superbia, his passion project for eight years. Director Lin-Manuel Miranda was in contact with Sondheim, who mentored Larson in real life, through the making of the film. Sondheim offered to rewrite the voicemail script because he felt it was "too trite" and something he wouldn't say, and recorded it when actor Bradley Whitford wasn't available for re-recording.
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  • Jons' friends were making fun of him affectionately ribbing him for his obsession over the workshop. When they find out that no investor made an offer, however, MJ says that she is so mad on his behalf.
  • While Susan and Jon don't get back together, she does express condolences that his workshop didn't get any investors. As a birthday gift and an Apology Gift, she presents to him the music book he was eyeing in The Strand at the beginning of the movie, for "the next one".
  • Andrew Garfield felt Larson's nervous, energetic spirit fretting about the film even after he had wrapped up principal photography. Superbia may have failed, and Larson may have never lived to see RENT being an international hit, but his legacy is being carried on through the material he left behind, and what the people who loved him have done with his legacy. Judging from the rapturous critical response, the late Larson had nothing to worry about.
    Andrew Garfield: I had to just gently say, 'John, the war is over, you've done everything you can and now we let it go. Stay with me, sit next to me, but maybe don't inhabit my entire being.'
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  • The fact that Lin-Manuel Miranda was able to direct this film and load it with references and Broadway luminaries, from writers, composers, to actors. He's an Ascended Fanboy because tick, tick... BOOM! was the show that made him decide that he wanted to do theatre professionally. The film feels like a love letter to Miranda and Larson's shared adoration of Broadway and themes that run parallel in their careers (the fear of running out of time, creating a legacy/making one's mark on the world, innovating their beloved art forms, etc.).
  • The workshop scene with up-and-coming musical theatre writers featured cameos from multiple recipients of the Jonathan Larson Grant, sitting side by side with Broadway legends. It's part of Larson's legacy that they were able to present their creations to the world.
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