So the trailer for the movie version of Dear Evan Hansen is here, and it’s about what I expected: nothing bad and nothing spectacular—more of this show that I think is fine and that’s all. Can’t wait to hear about Dear Evan Hansen for months and watch people slowly realize what this show is actually about.
The press release describes Dear Evan Hansen stating, “The breathtaking, generation-defining Broadway phenomenon becomes a soaring cinematic event as Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award winner Ben Platt reprises his role as an anxious, isolated high schooler aching for understanding and belonging amid the chaos and cruelty of the social-media age.”
I’m of the belief that Evan Hansen is actually not great, despite its accolades and now a film adaptation. It’s a look at mental health that takes a turn when Evan, who is lying to the entire town, finds viral fame because of his tribute to a classmate who killed himself. Starring 27-year-old Ben Platt, the original musical put him on the map and gave him a Tony Award, a Grammy, and an Emmy for the same performance—and made him one of the last to get a Daytime Emmy for outstanding musical performance in a daytime program before that shortcut to an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony) was removed.
I guess they really wanted him to have that Oscar, too, based on the decision to skip casting an actual teenager for the film version and stick with Platt, who was 22 when the musical premiered Off-Broadway (still a little too old to be playing a high school kid) and will be 28 years old when the movie is released (it’s being released on Platt’s birthday).
The press release went on to give us details about the cast and the songs included in the Tony award-winning show:
Featuring Grammy winning songs, including the iconic anthem “You Will Be Found,” “Waving Through a Window,” “For Forever” and “Words Fail,” Dear Evan Hansen stars six-time Oscar® nominee Amy Adams, Oscar® winner Julianne Moore, Kaitlyn Dever (Booksmart), Amandla Stenberg (The Hate U Give), Colton Ryan (Apple TV+’s Little Voice), Nik Dodani (Netflix’s Atypical), DeMarius Copes (Broadway’s Mean Girls) and Danny Pino (NBC’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit).
I don’t want to completely trash this show. There are moments in it and conversations surrounding it that are worthwhile. The problem is that those conversations rarely happen, and instead songs like “You Will Be Found” are used as uplifting songs to help inspire hope to people while, within the context of the show, it’s about a kid who is lying to a family who just lost their son all because he’s too afraid to admit that he wasn’t Connor’s friend at all.
The musical itself is a look at Evan’s own struggles with mental health and growing up, further explored through the loss of Connor to suicide. Connor, who took Evan’s letter that this therapist suggested he write to himself, dies with the letter still in his possession. So, Connor’s mother (Amy Adams) finds the letter and thinks that Connor wrote it for Evan. In Evan’s defense, he does try to say that the letter was not for him from Connor, but she doesn’t want to hear it, and he’s too worried about hurting this family further. But then he decides to continue to lie to them that he was friends with Connor and doesn’t know how to stop.
So when they suggest he says something about Connor at a tribute for him, Evan shares fake stories about Connor and the video goes viral online, leading to people thinking that his story is “inspiring” despite all of it being a lie. All of which is shown to us … in the trailer.
This show is a lot, and while, yes, there are important things to talk about and explore, that conversation didn’t really happen with the musical, but hopefully the movie will fix those errors. So I’m MILDLY intrigued.
Dear Evan Hansen is being released on September 24th.
(image: Universal Pictures)
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