Even though it introduces a new crop of fans to its humble soundtrack, “Dear Evan Hansen” The perfect example of why every hit Broadway musical shouldn’t be made into a movie.
At least it’s a well-meaning misfire on the part of director Stephen Chbosky (“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”). On paper, bringing back the aspects that rocked “Evan Hansen” “Hamilton”-esque popularity and a fleet Tony Award – From beloved Benz Pasek and Justin Paul songs to Ozzy Evans, ben plata — seems like a sure thing, especially tossing in Amy Adams and Julianne Moore. But the movie version (★★ out of four; rated PG-13; in theaters Friday) is simply a poor adaptation, trading the vibrancy and fresh spirit of the original show for all the familiar teen-movie angst, as an out replace the leading man with.
Evan (Platt), a high school senior with crippled social anxiety, is assigned by his therapist to write positive letters to himself, though a printout of one accidentally falls into the hands of troubled classmate Connor (Colton Ryan). Evan worries that he’s going to post it online and make her a pariah, but instead the letter is mistaken for a suicide note when Connor is found dead by his parents (Adams and Danny Pino). goes.
The “Dear Evan Hansen” letter and the fact that Connor signed Evan’s arm cast (how this was broken is a mystery gradually revealed in the film) leads Connor’s mother to believe that Evan is her was the son’s only friend. A concocted “relationship” that Evan pursues at first because it seems like it helps the family—which includes Connor’s sister, and Evan’s crush, Zoe (Caitlyn Dever)—but as the lies spiral out of control. It also enjoys increasing popularity. This all leads to the moment where Evan goes viral around the world, only for the lie to karmically fall back on him.
The film “Evan Hansen” is fairly faithful to its source material. The character of Evan’s activist classmate Alana (played by the “The Hate You Give” standout) Stenberg’s power) gets a more explicit role and a new song, though it adds a disturbing disconnect to her actions later in the plot. And that rather dark conceit, a teenage protagonist’s intentional betrayal of a dysfunctional family, plays better in a musical-theater setting. For those new to “Evan Hansen” watching the movie, it reads a little more brutal and unusual, even if you understand the dumb mistakes before you learn from the kids – showtunes included.
And Platt can still belt out those earworming, poppy songs like a champ. He is also effective in portraying Evan’s mental health struggles: in the well-conceived opening number (which plays off the inherent surrealism of a movie musical), he sings “Waving Through the Window” – Evan’s The song where he yearns for the attention of peers – walks through a busy school completely unnoticed. Yet as the film progresses, the jumbled and oddly earnest plot goes the wrong way. Adams and Moore, as Evan’s working single mom, are solid additions, though, and Dever is fantastic too, even if Evan and Zoe’s budding relationship seems forced.
The biggest problem, however, isn’t that the plot is too old for this part (although that doesn’t help); This is adaptation. Instead of embracing the nuances of the show, Chbosky creates a lengthy young-adult drama with some people singing randomly. The “Honestly, Me” sequence, where Evan and his friend Jared (Nick Dodani) create fake emails between Evan and Connor, is a moment that captures the joyous nature of a Broadway musical but is in stark contrast to the entire film, Which painfully turns into a teen-movie slog.
Recently Filmed Productions of “Hamilton” and “come from afarA recent adaptation of “While the Great White Way Experience Surprisingly Proceeds”everyone is talking about jamie“The West End offers a dazzling take on the musical. “Dear Evan Hansen” disappointsly interrupts in a disappointing package, acknowledging the importance of empathy and connection.