Dear Evan Hansen Movie Review

Dear Evan Hansen Movie Review
The wildly popular 2016 Broadway play "Dear Evan Hansen" is the latest hit musical to receive the Hollywood treatment in film form. (Sometimes that's a lucrative endeavor; sometimes it's "Cats"). The stage musical received universal acclaim from critics and audiences, who found the story to be a good conversation starter among high school teenagers who are dealing with mental health issues and suicidal ideations. As translated to the big screen, "Dear Evan Hansen" struggles to find its footing, and story choices take away from what good intentions everyone involved might have had.

Evan Hansen (Ben Platt, reprising the role he originated on Broadway and won a Tony for) is getting ready to start a new year of high school. It's tough for Evan, because he suffers from social anxiety, which makes him feel like an outlier amongst his fellow classmates. His one friend Jared (Nik Dodani) hangs around with Evan, but stresses they are family friends, not "friend" friends, and notes the difference.

In his free time, Evan tackles an assignment from his therapist to write letters to himself as daily affirmations. He writes one at school and it is intercepted by Connor (Colton Ryan), who reads it and becomes furious that Evan mentions his sister Zoe (Kaitlyn Dever) in the letter. Before Evan can explain anything Connor runs off with the letter, and all Evan can do is hope that no one besides Connor ever gets their hands on it.

The next day, Evan is called to the principal's office, where Connor's mother Cynthia (Amy Adams) and stepfather Larry (Danny Pino) inform him that Connor committed suicide and they found the letter in his pocket. Desperate for answers, Connor's parents hope to learn more about their son from Evan, who they assume was the friend they didn't know their son had.

What's frustrating about "Dear Evan Hansen" is that Evan knows he's wrong to go along with the assumption that he was friends with Connor. He tries to speak up, but Cynthia is too eager to learn more about what he and Connor may have done together, and to hear what stories her son could have shared with him. Evan, battling his anxieties, ends up filling the role Cynthia desperately wants to be real. It's a lie that spirals, especially as Evan keeps his mother Heidi (Julianne Moore, very effective in a supporting role) in the dark about everything, or when another student named Alana (Amandla Stenberg) gets involved to help memorialize Connor.

"Dear Evan Hansen" is directed by Stephen Chbosky, who has worked in this arena before, adapting his own novel "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" into a movie and also directing the sweet anti-bullying film "Wonder." "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" felt like a more honest portrayal of the mental and societal struggles of teenagers, where "Dear Evan Hansen" comes with an inherent theatricality because of its origins. Evan breaks out into big numbers, which helps him communicate what he can't get out, but it doesn't take away from the artifice of it all.

A lot has been said about Platt reprising his role at the age of 27, but it's understandable based on his connection to the material (also, show me a Hollywood film that doesn't cast twentysomethings in roles they are too old for). His wide-eyed, big-hearted performance can be distracting at times, but Platt is a deeply emotional performer who tries to sell the material as best as he can.

Structurally, the movie runs a bit long at 137 minutes, drawing out its inevitable conclusion, and some of the musical numbers are cut and edited a bit haphazardly. Having never seen any version of the stage production, one can only surmise "Dear Evan Hansen" was a better fit on Broadway, which gives more room for big emotional numbers and moments to breathe.

At the end of the day, if the story of Evan Hansen has helped in any way, no negative review can or should take that away. The movie tries to sway us in favor of Evan, but it's hard to be on his side when he leads a grieving family down a deceptive path. There are important conversations - mainly for the young audience it's targeted at - to be had from this movie, but the story choices shroud what good it's intending to do.

Dear Evan Hansen Movie Review By Matthew Passantino

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About Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera

Hey, I'm Perera! I will try to give you technology reviews(mobile,gadgets,smart watch & other technology things), Automobiles, News and entertainment for built up your knowledge.
Dear Evan Hansen Movie Review Dear Evan Hansen Movie Review Reviewed by Wanni Arachchige Udara Madusanka Perera on October 03, 2021 Rating: 5


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