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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Movie Review: ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ is hard to get through

Photos courtesy of Universal Pictures Evan Hansen, played by Ben Platt, gets into a verbal altercation with Connor, played by Colton Ryan, about a note that Connor took from Evan.

Jose Romero

“Dear Evan Hansen” is proof that sometimes Broadway musicals don’t need film adaptations.

Ben Platt reprises his role from the musical as the titular character, Evan Hansen. That was the first red sign. He’s a 28-year-old guy portraying a high school teenager. Instead of getting a younger actor, Platt is caked with makeup, making his face way too pale for comfort. It would be easy to ignore if Evan was a likable character but he’s absolutely awful, irredeemable even.

Evan’s terrible actions begin when a classmate, Connor, that used to bully him commits suicide. Connor stole a note from Evan before he killed himself, a note Connor’s parents find. The note was written by Evan, but since it began with “Dear Evan Hansen,” it made it seem as if Connor wrote it for Evan. Instead, Evan wrote it because his therapist told him to for an assignment. That’s when Evan’s villainy begins.

Evan lies to Connor’s parents, making up stories about the time they spent together when in reality, the only interactions they had were when Connor was yelling at Evan. At first, it kind of makes sense that Evan continued the facade.

He’s put in a precarious position, not wanting to tell Connor’s parents that they weren’t friends at all. The first time he lies, it can be forgiven, but he continues throughout the movie. His lies get larger and larger, gaslighting Connor’s whole family. It becomes hard to continue caring about someone so vile. The movie tries to redeem him but fails.

It’s hard to watch a movie where it wants the viewer to like the main character, but he’s just so awful that it’s hard to feel sympathy. There’s a disconnect between the movie and the audience. When the movie tried to be melancholy, it makes people feel awkward with closeups to characters’ faces as they hold a very long vibrato. A very, very long vibrato.

The music isn’t awful, but it just feels completely out of place. Characters will burst into song at random intervals. The transition from Broadway to a movie wasn’t smooth whatsoever. Everything about this movie feels awkward. Evan is meant to feel awkward, but all the surrounding characters shouldn’t. It’s so hard to root for anyone.

“Dear Evan Hansen” is a Tony award-winning musical. This movie does it a disservice.

Photos courtesy of Universal Pictures
Evan Hansen and his friend fabricate emails to Connor’s family.

Rough topics like suicide and mental illness are downplayed, sometimes making it into a punchline at times. I was uncomfortable throughout a huge majority of the movie and almost walked out. But, unfortunately, I stayed. Hoping to find something I liked, to no avail.

“In The Heights” this year proved that movie adaptations of musicals can work tremendously. It had dynamic, vibrant scenes filled with outstanding choreography. “Dear Evan Hansen” had none of that. It was dull, static and lifeless. If this is a person’s first experience with the musical, the last thing they would assume is the number of accolades the source material was bestowed.

Ben Platt is a great singer, but that couldn’t save this movie. The music tried to carry the film, but it broke its back within the first ten minutes.

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