Dear Evan Hansen will touch many audiences around the world. The film is faithful to the musical stage play on which it is based, and the music is touching and spellbinding. The film conveys the positive message that although some people may feel alone, they are not as alone as they think.
Evan Hansen is a seventeen-year-old approaching his senior year in high school. He suffers from social anxiety and lives with his mother Heidi Hansen, played by Julianne Moore. Evan has his friend Jared, played by Nik Dodani, but no other real friends. He writes a letter to himself as an assignment from his counselor, and that letter falls into the wrong hands of a boy named Connor Murphy, played by Colton Ryan. At first Evan is humiliated that someone has his letter, but the story takes a drastic turn when Connor takes his own life.
Connor’s mom, played by Amy Adams, and his dad, played by Danny Pino, find the letter and believe that it was Connor’s last words. Evan also has a cast with Connor’s name written on it, and he starts creating stories about he and Connor being friends. Evan gains more popularity, and for once in his life he feels that he matters. He finds love with Connor’s sister, Zoe Murphy, played by Kaitlyn Dever. Evan’s deception goes viral and he becomes an icon to his high school and many around the world.
No one plays Evan Hansen better than Ben Platt. He was also the lead when it opened on Broadway. I saw the Broadway in Chicago version of the production, without Platt, but it was still wonderful on many levels.
I felt a connection to Evan, and many audiences members will feel the same. Evan’s challenges correlate to real-life challenges for many adolescents and teenagers. Like many other young people, Evan experiences moments of loss, moments of disconnect, but also moments of success.
I loved Dear Evan Hansen. I too have had my share of struggles in life. I have had times where I felt my was in life in limbo and I struggled to find inspiration, so I could truly relate. And Evan’s feelings of not wanting to be alone are universal. Ultimately, the true importance of Dear Evan Hansen is to remind us that we all need love, and that there is nothing wrong with being different. Three and a half stars for Dear Evan Hansen.