‘Dear Evan Hansen’ should have stayed on Broadway

Isabela Sanchez

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Jane Shiff

The film adaption of “Dear Evan Hansen” has failed to make a good impression on viewers.

The movie, “Dear Evan Hansen” was released on Sept. 24. The film is based on a musical. The Broadway show was a big hit, even having six Tony Awards under its belt. It is understandable why they wanted to make this successful musical into a movie, but with its questionable casting and the overall portrayal of the musical, it would have been best if it was never made for the big screen. 

“Dear Evan Hansen” follows a high schooler named Evan, portrayed by Ben Platt, who broke his arm before the school year started. Out of pity, a character named Connor, portrayed by Colton Ryan, signed the cast. Later in the day, Evan was following his therapist’s instructions to write letters of affirmations to himself. He printed one of them on the school’s printer where Connor saw it and took it since it mentioned Evan’s crush on Connor’s sister, Zoe portrayed by Kaitlyn Dever. A few days later, Connor died and the letter was in his pocket, so when his parents found it, they reached out to Evan, assuming that Evan was a friend of Connor’s. When Connor’s parents met Evan,  Connor’s mom, Cynthia, portrayed by Amy Adams, saw that the only person who signed his cast was her son, which only proved the case more that her son and Evan were friends. Evan realizes that pretending to be friends with Connor is a chance to get closer to Zoe, so most of the film consists of Evan lying about how close he was with Connor.

It seems that the directors depended too much on the music and failed to create a storyline and plot that drew the audience in as much as the music. The lack of direction taken in portraying realistic aspects of the grieving process makes the plotline unrealistic. Instead of acknowledging that Evan is not a good person the writers try to justify his behavior by saying that he feels like an outcast and that he just wants friends and a loving family. 

Evan is unlikeable as well as his actions, the lack of direction in giving redemption to the character leaves the movie feeling unfinished and audience members unsatisfied. None of the characters and their reactions are realistic; they carry a false sense of emotion and are easy to see as expendable, an end to a means for the plot.

While Ben Platt was the original Evan Hansen in the Broadway show, it was still an odd choice to choose him to play a high school student. They tried to age him down by having him wear loads of foundation and giving him a wig, not only was that ineffective, but it really did not help that they hired teenagers and young adults as extras. Speaking of the storyline in the second act of the film, Evan confesses that he lied about everything, and he was forgiven by the end of the movie. The writers also thought that Evan telling the truth was a redemption arc. They try to make the viewers feel bad for him by having a montage of him being a loner, which makes the audience forget about Evan taking advantage of a grieving family so he could become closer to his crush. 

Overall, “Dear Evan Hansen” falls flat for musical enthusiasts and moviegoers alike. The lack of character development, portrayal of realistic emotions, and believable plotline cheapen the value of musical genius in its soundtrack. Rather than highlighting its iconic soundtrack, the plot and acting lessen the movie’s quality. As a whole, “Dear Evan Hansen” is rated a solid three out of ten. The music itself seems to be the only redeeming quality of the movie; unfortunately, music cannot be a stand-alone film.