Movie Myla never had the privilege of seeing Ben Platt as the titular Evan Hansen on Broadway (Movie Myla is very saddened by this and thinks you should all send condolence flowers, but I digress). In the case of the new movie version of Dear Evan Hansen, I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. There are no comparisons of songs left in or taken out or written for the movie. Evan Hansen’s growth in the movie is a major plot point that is only alluded to in the play, so not knowing the canonical material is somewhat of a blessing to those of us who missed the stage production. Now the movie viewer gets to have the discussions (and boy howdy, does this movie open up dialogs) about the material covered in the movie like suicide, mental health, feeling isolated, making mistakes, and finally redemption.
Dear Evan Hansen Review
Evan Hansen is lonely. He has anxiety. His father isn’t in the picture and his mom (Julianne Moore) works a lot. He would like to have friends and a loving family. When a classmate Connor (Colton Ryan) dies, Evan is thrown into circumstances that he doesn’t quite know how to handle. Then he makes it worse. He gets some of the contentment he seeks when he connects with Connor’s family (Kaitlyn Dever, Amy Adams, and Danny Pino), but he gets further wrapped up in his deceit. Lest you think it’s a completely heavy movie, Nik Dodani’s Jared comes through with some light, comedic moments. Amandla Stenberg rounds out the cast as the go-getter Alana.
This movie is a three-hanky weeper. The characters cry, the audience cries, everybody cries (I’m pretty sure my cat was crying). Don’t expect to get out of the theater unscathed. But also expect to be singing some lovely tunes when you exit. It is a musical. Just not necessarily a happy-go-lucky one. But that Ben Platt can sing and sing he does.