‘Dear Evan Hansen’ doesn’t compare to musical

Film doesn’t do the original Broadway musical justice


Fair use from Universal Studios.

Avery Stahl

Ben Platt, who starred in the original musical, “Dear Evan Hansen,” came back for the movie depicting a dark story of a highschool student caught in a lie. But casting a 28-year-old man to play a senior in high school is a bit concerning considering how unconvincing this casting choice was.

This story is about a struggling teen, Evan Hansen, drowning in depression and anxiety as well as Connor Murphy. Evan gets caught in a big lie and uses Connor’s suicide to get popular, and in some ways, famous. But as most lies go, it doesn’t end well for Evan and the grieving people he uses. 

In 2019, I went to see the Broadway musical and was blown away with the production quality and intriguing plot. The lights and sounds on stage showed the teen’s mental health struggles in a way that the movie just couldn’t. The musical made it easier to forgive Evan, showing him making things right in the end, leaving you uplifted and somewhat hopeful despite the dark topic. The movie didn’t do that at all. It rushed through the ending having Evan give little effort into fixing his actions, which was depressing and impossible to sympathize with the character and forgive him. 

Ben Platt has played Evan Hansen in the musical since the beginning of its run, and I love the idea of casting the original character for the role of Evan so the songs sound the same and give fans a bit of nostalgia. But in this case, having a 28-year-old in a high school was distracting. All the other characters looked their age, including his love interest. Watching a romance between a 16-year-old and an obviously older man was disturbing and weird. 

One of the biggest things that bothered me about the movie is the pace or the plot. The beginning and middle of the movie was long and drawn out. It felt like some parts were unnecessary, for example, small things like the family plot or parts with his mom. But because that was so slow and long the ending was so rushed and short. It didn’t give the movie good closure. 

Although I have many issues with the movie, there were parts I really liked — the movie focuses more on the topic of mental health than the musical does. It goes into more detail showing many more people struggle than we think. It helps show people they’re not alone in struggles. That message is wonderful and could help viewers. 

In conclusion, I don’t think it was a bad movie. It just could have been done so much better, and doesn’t come close to how good the musical was. If you like dark topics and depressing endings, maybe this movie is for you. 

“Dear Evan Hanson”: ★★★☆☆