Evan Hansen (Ben Platt) is a high school senior with a severe social-anxiety disorder. As an assignment from his therapist, Evan is required to write letters to himself. But when his latest one lands into the hands of Connor (Colton Ryan), Evan’s life unravels, especially when he learns that Connor has taken his own life a few days later. What follows is a journey of self discovery as Evan is finally accepted by those around him, allowing him to live out the life he always wanted.
To say I was looking forward to this movie was an understatement. I think this was probably THE most anticipated movie I had on my list this year. Based on the Tony Award winning musical of the same name, I was thrilled to finally have the chance to check it out for myself as I never got around to seeing the stage adaption. I can’t lie though, as soon as the critics started coming in for it, I got scared. It was…not what I had expected. Still, I went into the film with an open mind and hoped for the best.
It has been hard putting my thoughts down on paper. The story is certainly polarizing and hard to make sense of sometimes. It’s not black and white at all. Despite knowing the overall premise, there were a lot of details that were brand new to me, though I have to say that the actual plot was nothing groundbreaking or exciting. If anything, it was decent at best and at times it even dragged a bit.
I was hoping the soundtrack would be a smash. Even before seeing it, I had You Will Be Found on repeat and couldn’t wait to watch that scene unfold. One thing is for sure: Ben Platt has the voice of an angel. I have always thought so and okay, he doesn’t look at all like a high school student, but I am glad that we had him for the sake of these songs. He was the standout, everyone else’s singing chops weren’t as good as I was expecting.
The rest of the cast were fine. I like Kaitlyn Dever, but I didn’t think she had any chemistry with Ben. Their scenes together felt hollow and like they were missing something. Julianne Moore and Amy Adams, two household names who are usually amazing in everything they do, were just after thoughts. I particularly wish we had had more with Amy Adams because at least we know she can sing (thank you Enchanted). Out of them all, Nik Dodani was the breakout star. He brought some laughs which was appreciated.
I feel like the movie really wanted to do its best to raise awareness for mental health. It’s such an important topic, one that is still not talked about as freely as it should be and as somebody who struggles with depression and anxiety, I was curious to see how this would be done. While at times they exceeded in this, I felt like it could have been explored and fleshed out even more than it was. Some aspects were dealt with at a surface level or open ended which was just not enough. That being said, I still sat there in tears while the credits rolled because some of it had touched me.
Yes, Dear Evan Hansen has probably become one of the most talked about films of the year. It hit many marks and wasn’t what people were expecting. But I don’t think that should deter anybody from watching it. I hyped it up so much and felt a bit disappointed with the turn out, but I also didn’t hate it. Everyone should give it a go and decide what they think about it themselves.