When it comes to Jonathan Larson’s landmark musical “Rent,” there are basically two reactions: some people love it, while others could really go without seeing it. Personally, I love it. “Rent,” to me, is an inspirational story about overcoming diversity and living for the day. But in this blog, I’m not really intending to praise this show; instead, I’d like to refer to its ending – that is, the alternate ending of the movie musical that was directed by Chris Columbus.
I must issue a spoiler alert for those of you who haven’t yet seen this amazing film. According to DVD extras, a documentary about the deleted scenes explained that the film originally ended in a fashion very similar to the Broadway show, during which the final scene transitions from the friends watching Mark’s documentary back to the stage, where the show begins. At the very end of the awe-inspiring song “Finale B,” Angel, who very tragically passed away, takes his place among the rest, just as everything had been in the beginning. However, this ending was eventually cut and replaced with a simpler ending; if you watch the film, you’ll see that it ends with everyone watching Mark’s documentary, leaving out the transition back to the stage. It is said that the director and producer of the film wanted the ending to be clearer cut so that viewers don’t assume false hope that Angel did, somehow, survive. But personally, I prefer that alternate ending because I think it brings about a sense of friendship and everlasting ties.
So why, you may ask, am I writing about a movie that debuted when I was in middle school? Well, as I said previously, I really like its message. But furthermore, I like the idea of alternate endings. We are quickly approaching the new school year, and, from my standpoint, nothing will really be the same for me. Many of the people that I’ve grown so near to have graduated are moving on with their lives, and they won’t be at Fontbonne with me anymore. And others in my life who truly supported and encouraged me will no longer be able to help me and be there for me as they once did. As a freshman, I had envisioned taking a lot of biotechnology classes my senior year; as it turns out, I’ll only really have immunology to take this year. Am I scared about this new school year? Not necessarily, but I am slowly realizing that this year will be totally different from my past three years.
But then I think about alternatives. If you would’ve told me that I’d be a biology major working with E. coli and Staph and centrifuging and pipetting and whatnot when I was a sophomore in high school, I probably would’ve said, “You’re crazy.” But now, being in the position that I’m in, I can’t picture doing anything else with my life. I guess what I’m trying to say is that we shouldn’t be afraid of alternatives. The alternative ending to a certain stage of life may turn out to be better than the one that you’d already planned.