Mesa Legend
Nothing--from hunched shoulders to looking waxed from the nose down--could hide the fact that Ben Platt is now a decade older than Evan Hansen, a role he first took in in the original musical in 2015. (Courtesy of Universal Pictures)

Save yourself from watching the ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ movie

Despite the catchy songs that made it popular, “Dear Evan Hansen” was overall excruciatingly long and unauthentic. The main character, played by the musical’s original broadway actor, Ben Platt, unbelievably tries to pass off as an awkward teenager, making it hard to get past it while watching the film. 

Evan Hansen is a teen who suffers from severe anxiety and has a cast on his left arm due to falling out of a tree during the summer. He is the outcast nobody notices at school. Evan gets into an altercation with Connor Murphy, a disobedient and angry student, in which Connor steals a letter written by Evan to himself as a part of therapy. 

After Connor’s parents break the news of Connor’s death to Evan, they show him the same note, thinking Connor had written it as a suicide note. They believe Connor and Evan must have been best friends. Not wanting to tell the grief-stricken parents the truth about the letter, he fabricates the story of their friendship. 

The lie begins to snowball. Soon Evan goes viral for the speech he made during the memorial to Connor. Evan even dates Connor’s sister, Zoe, with whom he has secretly been in love for years. Though Evan starts to feel guilty about all the lies, it opens him up for more friendships than he has ever had.

Taking on the subject of mental illness is difficult, but the message just didn’t seem like the focal point of the film, when it is such a huge theme for the Tony-award-winning musical. The film is about this one person who dies by suicide, but by the end of the movie you aren’t any closer to understanding who Connor was. 

There are sympathetic and empathetic moments of this film, but they are outweighed by the moments that were lost in translation from stage to screen. The plot itself is questionable and problematic, but the songs were what made it stand out and win six Tony’s. Unfortunately, the music could not save it from itself. 

Platt’s casting is the giant elephant in the room. The 28-year-old looked as though he was waxed from the nose down. He tried hunching his shoulders to look smaller and gave little nuanced tick’s, but nothing masked the fact that he was playing someone a decade younger than himself. 

Save yourself from this disappointing adaptation. Its obvious message of seeking help in a time where you are mentally struggling is put to the wayside by the emotionally-manipulative plot. “Dear Evan Hansen” fails to lift any spirits. It is just the opposite—quite depressing.

Author

  • Jordan Jones was hired as the Culture reporter for the Mesa Legend in January of 2020. She is in her second semester at MCC, and she plans to transfer to ASU and get an Interdisciplinary Studies degree in Film Study and Art History. With her degrees and passion for cinema, Jordan intends to become a film archivist.