‘Dear Evan Hansen’ Review: A Remarkable and Emotional Big Screen Adaptation
While I hadn’t seen the musical prior to seeing the film, that didn’t mean I was any less interested in Dear Evan Hansen. I was familiar with the story, and I had heard the music. And I was freaking excited to finally see it!
Based on the incredible Broadway play by the same name, Dear Evan Hansen brings Tony, Grammy, and Emmy award-winner Ben Platt to the big screen to reprise his role of Evan Hansen. While high school is cruel to most, it was especially unkind to Evan. As he struggles with anxiety and depression, it’s made worst by the fact he has no true friends. Evan feels alone.
As Evan tries to seek help, he’s met with the challenge of writing himself a letter every day. The goal? Having a brief moment with himself to talk himself up for what the day has in-store.
Unfortunately, his most recent letter enters the hands of his classmate Connor, who later that day – takes his own life. As Connor’s family searches for answers and closure in the loss of their son, Evan’s letter, which they believe Conner wrote to Evan, is the only thing they have left. Not wanting to cause pain and wanting to help the family (who his crush also happens to be a part of), Evan goes along with the narrative.
From there, things get messy and needlessly more complicated. Take a look at the trailer below.
Dear Evan Hansen Trailer
Dear Evan Hansen Review: What I Liked and Didn’t Like
Let me start out by saying, this movie WRECKED me. If you had a rough time in high school, have tissues ready for this one. It’s not an easy watch, but it’s more than worth it.
Having dealt with social anxiety and depression in high school myself, this movie ripped into my heart on a very personal level. Not wanting to be alone, but also having anxiety about being around people. Wanting to be a part of something but not feeling seen. Wanting to make people happy – even if it was at your own expense. Just wanting people to care. All of these concepts were things that I struggled with. And a lot of us struggled with and we just didn’t say anything – or we don’t talk about.
It wasn’t just the story that hit me – but also Ben Platt’s performance. Ben Platt is pure brilliance in the role of Evan Hansen. Watching him, it almost feels like he was born for this role. He’s just sheer perfection. He deserves a nomination come award season for his work here. He needs to add an Oscar to that already impressive award collection he has going.
The whole assemble cast does a fantastic job in each of their respective roles. Amy Adams, Julianne Moore, Kaitlyn Dever, Amandla Stenberg, Nik Dodani, Danny Pino, Colton Ryan, DeMarius Copes – all give stellar supporting performances.
Next, there’s the music, which comes from the masterminds behind the Broadway play. The music by Tony winner Steven Levenson and lyrics by the show’s Oscar, Grammy and Tony-winning songwriting team of Benj Pasek & Justin Paul (La La Land, The Greatest Showman). The songs are catchy, emotional, and simply beautiful.
Lastly, there is the film’s director. The man most likely to make me cry when I step into a theater, Stephen Chbosky. Those of you who aren’t familiar with Chbosky’s work, go look him up. He not only directed but also wrote the coming-of-age novel that nearly every “outsider” or “outcast” related to in high school, The Perks of Being a Wallflower (which also equally wrecked me when I read it 1999 and when I saw it on the big screen in 2012).
A small, personal tangent. Being a film critic provides the opportunity for me to meet and interview those involved in filmmaking from time to time. I had the chance to interview Chbosky in 2012. A brief 15-minute encounter in which, after I finished asking him my questions, I embarrassingly teared up – thanking him for Perks. Throughout what were traumatic high school years for me, that book was one of the few places that I found hope that it could get better.
I say all of this to say there was no one more perfect than Chbosky to bring this story to the big screen. He does a beautiful job at translating the Broadway play into a remarkable film – and he hits all the right notes (musical pun intended) while doing so.
Well. If you can’t already tell, I was a big fan of Dear Evan Hansen. Movies like this are worth celebrating. Not only is it a great film with a great story and fantastic performances – but it also signs a light on the importance of mental health. Everyone is fighting a battle. And most of the time – we have no idea the personal demons someone is struggling with. So what’s the takeaway? Be kind to those around you.
Dear Evan Hansen Review:
To spread a little extra Dear Evan Hansen love and kindness in honor of this film’s release. Leave a comment below – sharing your thoughts on the film’s trailer or the play if you’ve seen it (Or the film if you’ve already seen it), and give this review a retweet here. I’ll be picking a few of you to get some Evan Hansen goodies (Must have a U.S. address to win)! Good luck!
Absolutely LOVED this film!! So, so much…like Emma I also give this an A+! Ben Platt’s voice is MAGICAL and the overall message of the this movie/story is so relevant cause so many ppl feel so alone, even more so during these times of Covid. Often times it’s good to share in that pain/sadness to see just how alike we are and that we’re truly never alone! Go see Dear Evan Hansen!! Hopefully I’ll get to see the play soon😊
I love the movie and the song, I have watched it twice. And I’d like to have some of Evan Hansen’s stuff to remember
Looks like an emotional film. I have not seen the musical. Not sure if I’ll see this in the theater or wait for it on cable.
I have not seen the film yet but absolutely plan to do so. I have listened to the soundtrack so know the songs which are amazing, and like you, I am a huge fan of
Stephen Chbosky. ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ is a classic and I loved the book and the movie. Lucky you for getting to interview him! I appreciate the review and cannot wait to see this film now!