Broadway Hit “Dear Evan Hansen” Takes on the Big Screen

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Courtesy of Miltonv; Creative Commons License

**SPOILER WARNING**

Broadway hit musical, Dear Evan Hansen gives fans a fresh take with a new on-screen interpretation. The show was written by Steven Levenson and opened on Broadway in December 2016 with a star-studded cast including Ben Platt, Laura Dreyfuss, Mike Faist, and other talented actors who perfectly portray the emotional story that gracefully addresses topics such as mental health and suicide.

The movie follows the same story plot as the musical and surrounds 17-year-old Evan Hansen, a socially anxious outcast, whose assignment from his therapist takes an unexpected turn and spirals into much more than he ever imagined. Evan’s longing to make friends eventually leads him to fabricate an entire relationship with Connor Murphy, a distant classmate of Evan’s who takes his own life. As Evan gets caught up in these lies, he gets closer and closer to the Murphy family, including Connor’s sister Zoe in particular,  who only wants to hear more about the life of their late son. As the story unfolds the relationships fall from love to disappointment and betrayal as Evan’s life comes crashing down, forcing him to overcome it.

Ben Platt reprises his role of Evan Hansen and although he is iconic in this role, some have criticized the film for Platt being too old to play a 17-year-old teenager since he is now 28 years old. Since all of the other roles had fresh faces, it might have been nice to see a younger take on the role of Evan. Despite the awkward age gap between Evan and potential love interest, Zoe Murphy (played by Kaitlyn Dever), Platt truly fits the role perfectly in the screen adaptation. The movie also stars tons of talented actors such as Amy Adams as Cynthia Murphy, Julianna Moore as Heidi Hansen, Colton Ryan as Connor Murphy who also reprised his Broadway role, and many others. The acting in this movie was incredible especially in its relatability in scenes of real and vulnerable moments that anyone watching who has experienced something similar can relate to. 

The same iconic songs from Broadway are in the movie which gives viewers an even better look into what each character is going through. The movie also features a new song called “The Anonymous Ones.” This song was not as impactful as the other ones in the movie and the story could have continued smoothly without it. The show also left out a few songs from the stage version in order to help move the story forward on the screen.

There were many things about the movie “Dear Evan Hansen” that make it worth seeing, however, the main flaw was simply that the story was dragged out in the middle and once the climax was reached after so long, the resolution seemed rushed. However, this is a minor concern in the grand scheme of the movie that was overall very enjoyable to watch.

Some fans were skeptical about taking a huge Broadway show to the big screen, but with only a few moments where the mark was missed, most would say that “Dear Evan Hansen” is definitely worth a trip to the movies.

Joanna Meskos is a junior at JD High School. This is her second year co-editing the Culture section of Rampage where she can share her love of music and entertainment.