The story of Evan Hansen, a high school senior with Social Anxiety disorder, and his journey of self-discovery and acceptance following the suicide of a fellow classmate.
THE GOOD STUFF:
-BEN PLATT- The performance is amazing. It shouldn’t be a surprise given that Platt has originated this character on Broadway, and played him for years, winning a Tony in doing so. It seems redundant to talk about how good he is given the fact that the character is so embedded in his DNA by this point he probably sings the songs in his sleep. So much has been said about the many, (MANY) flaws of this movie, that not enough has been said about how good of a job he does. He is absolutely wonderful in the role, and (of course) has a spectacular voice to boot.
Had this not been a popular Broadway play before, and had he been some just unknown actor that had performed THIS WELL in the film alongside actors like Amy Adams and Julianne Moore… He would possibly be the biggest breakout star of 2021 no matter how bad the film is. If only.
-AMY ADAMS- No shock here folks. Amy Adams is not only a fantastic actress, (A six-time Oscar Nominee) but as seen in the films Mrs. Pettigrew Lives for a Day, and Enchanted, she does have the singing chops built for the types of songs that are in this film. Aces, as always.
-THE SONGS “SO BIG/SO SMALL” and “SINCERELY, ME”- Unquestionably the two best songs from the film. DEAR EVAN HANSON is a film filled with songs performed in close-up shots. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but if one did not know it was a Broadway show, it wouldn’t be able to tell from how almost all of these songs are laid out in the film. “Sincerely, Me” is one of the few numbers in the film that feels like it came from a Broadway show. An absolutely hilarious song in a movie that attempts to be as heavy as humanly possible.
And as far as “So Big /So Small” is concerned, all I will say is this… This song pops up in the third act of this film, and up until then the packed auditorium that I watched this film in had been hit with many songs dealing with super duper-heavy themes, and not a peep was uttered. Then Julianne Moore pops up singing this song and by the end of her rendition of it, there were audible ugly cries from TWO different sections of the auditorium. A truly fantastic moment in the film.
I do not have kids. I know nothing of the joys of being a parent. However, if I did, I more than likely would have had an ugly cry myself. Julianne Moore does not have a lot of screen time in this film, but boy does she make the most of it.
THE BAD STUFF:
-BEN PLATT’S FACE- By this point, a lot has been said about how old Ben Platt looks in this film, and that he should not be playing a high schooler by any means. This is VERY, VERY, true.
As I mentioned before, these songs are done specifically with close-ups of the actors singing them and Ben Platt looks noticeably older to the point where when he stands next to someone like Kaitlyn Dever, (or especially next to Amanda Stenberg) it looks 21 JUMP STREET-ish. At times Platt looks like a dude who would go undercover in the high school trying to fit in with the high schoolers. And though it’s not as comical such as say, Channing Tatum trying to pass off as a high schooler… It can be SUPER noticeable, and to some, I can understand it being distracting.
THE UGLY STUFF:
-THIS F****** PLOT- Understand me when I tell you this dear reader… From BEGINNING TO END, the plot of this film will test the VERY LIMITS of the suspension of your disbelief. The outright mechanical contrivances that are ABSOLUTELY necessary to keep this story moving forward are pretty F****** wild. Also, I should mention that I have not seen the play, nor heard the soundtrack before going into this film.
There are times in this film where Evan Hansen looks flat-out villainous. Not evil per se, but a villainous type. A hustler, an absolute capitalist, a guy who knows he’s living a lie and is COMPLETELY reaping all of the benefits of his lie at the expense of a grieving family.
And from that, I know this film is bad as everyone says it is…because I KNOW THAT IS NOT THE INTENT OF THE FILM ITSELF. A real shame.
DEAR EVAN HANSEN is available in theaters.