The movie version of Jonathan Larson’s musical is directed by Chris Columbus, the filmmaker behind such bleak Christmastime tales as Gremlins, Home Alone, and Stepmom. The story starts on Christmas and ends at Christmas a year later. The wintry setting, which echoes that of Rent template La Boheme, is a reminder that the city streets are a cold place to be, literally and figuratively. In between Christmases, there’s singing, dancing, AIDS, heroin, gentrification, rioting, artistic sellout, love, loss, and, yes, an Angel.
That would be the drag street performer Angel, played by Wilson Jermaine Heredia, who rescues Collins (Jesse L. Martin) after a mugging and who, after death, urges the dying Mimi (Rosario Dawson) to turn away from the light and head back to Earth. It’s a Christmas miracle, one of a precious few allotted to the starving artists of Rent.
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