RENT The Movie vs. RENT The Musical

By Kaitlyn Bailey

On January 28th, I had the amazing opportunity to see Rent at DPAC. I wanted to see the musical because I watched the movie version of Rent and wanted to compare it to the musical. As I was watching the movie, all I could think about was how some of the scenes were not there and it loses the context of the plot. The movie is not bad, but it does not have as much as the musical does which makes it difficult for people who have never seen the musical to understand it fully. I wanted to write this blog to help people who have never seen Rent decide if they want to see the musical in person or are okay just seeing the movie in the comfort of their house. Warning there might be some spoilers.

Let’s start with the movie. In all, the movie does tell the story and keeps the key parts, but it skips a lot to the scenes and goes straight to the songs. Though this is very common in musicals made into movies, Rent is one of those musicals that have essential scenes that cannot be skipped. The songs in Rent the movie are good and very compelling but some of the songs in the musical are taken out of the movie- this is done to cut out time so the movie isn’t too long. 

The musical has other things added in to make the audience understand what it is like living in New York. In the musical, they show how the people living in New York feel like. They do not get treated with respect and they show that through the songs and certain scenes. Also in the musical, you can really see the community throughout the show. In the movie, the story really only follows the main character but in the musical, the characters interact with the ensemble letting the audience see the togetherness which is what the play is really about. 

My personal recommendation would be to go see the musical. Is the movie way off from the musical? No, the movie does lack some scenes, but it absolutely tells the story. I do feel that seeing the show done live and watching the actors’ emotions make the performance so much more powerful. When I was watching the musical and seeing the emotions, everyone brings 100% to their performance down to the ensemble. It made me fall in love with the show. Rent is now my second favorite musical ever because of the story it tells. Whether or not you go see the musical or watch the movie I would just want you to watch Rent.