Dear Evan Hansen Image

Dear Evan Hansen

By Alan Ng | September 22, 2021

Like any good musical, there has to be a big number that ends the first act, and it comes in the form of the anthem, “You Will Be Found.” It’s inspiring and produced in a way that will have your toes tapping and conjure the big chorus feelings experience of The Greatest Showman.

There’s been a lot of controversy about old guy Ben Platt playing a high schooler. To that, I say, watch Grease and tell me you’re uncomfortable. Casting Plat was an absolute necessity because how many times have I complained about making musicals with Hollywood actors who can’t sing at a Broadway-level (e.g., Beauty and the Beast and Les Miserables). Dear Evan Hansen works because Platt knows the role and songs like no other person alive.

“…the musical’s book writer, Steven Levenson, brilliantly brings his play to the big screen.”

Lastly, a film’s advantage over a Broadway play is that you can cut to essential plot elements, make use of flashbacks, and highlight specific details in a way you can’t do on stage. The camera can focus your attention on small things. That camera becomes incredibly important for the storytelling, particularly in the songs “If I Could Tell Her” and “For Forever.”

Dear Evan Hansen is by no means a perfect movie. The second act drags and drags and drags. Of course, you know Evan’s lie will be exposed at some point. Unfortunately, it takes forever to get there and is pretty much the entire second half. The story is good and tackles the subject of suicide, suicide prevention, and how we can be an ear to those in need, but man, editing would have been a great friend here.

I should note that if you’re not a fan of musicals, don’t bother seeing Dear Evan Hansen. It’s not going to change your mind in the slightest. There’s not much dancing, which should relieve many critics, but yes, characters burst out into song in an attempt to extract tears, and, on several occasions, the ploy worked. If you’ve ever felt alone and ignored in life, Dear Evan Hansen may touch you in profound ways.

Dear Evan Hansen (2021)

Directed: Stephen Chbosky

Written: Steven Levenson

Starring: Ben Platt, Kaitlyn Dever, Amy Adams, Danny Pino, Julianne Moore, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Dear Evan Hansen Image

"…works on the big screen..."

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