Top Ten Movies of 2021 — Number Six

As guided by first-time feature director Lin-Manuel Miranda, tick, tick…BOOM! is a thrilling tribute to the act of creation itself. Miranda, working with screenwriter Steven Levenson, adapts Jonathan Larson’s autobiographical stage work of the same name with a resolute determination to expand every facet of it to take full advantage of the cinematic form. Not since Bob Fosse’s All That Jazz has a screen musical been so enlivened by this type of freewheeling, and yet miraculously unpretentious, sense of adventure. Andrew Garfield embodies that spirit as Larson, throwing himself into every considerable task — singing, dancing, romance, anguish, anxiety, comedy requiring expert deftness — with a commitment level at least one notch above gusto. The film is playful without being indulgent, and sentimental without giving in to the maudlin. It traverses a shimmering cobweb of fine lines, landing each cavorting step with a choreographer’s precision. It is a delight and an emotional powerhouse at once, demonstrating a keen understanding of a creator Miranda clearly relates to and admires. He does right by his subject by blasting open the piece like a disco-ball piñata, letting the creative possibilities rain down .

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