Dear Evan Hansen: Yay or Nay?


Hannah Barham

Dear Evan Hansen is a Tony-Award-winning Broadway musical written by Justin Paul and Benji Pasek. The musical depicts a boy, Evan Hansen, who struggles with severe anxiety, getting caught up in a huge lie after a misunderstanding between him and another student’s family. This musical is one of the biggest names in Broadway history, with names such as Ben Platt, Mike Faist, and Laura Dreyfuss now recognizable. And just recently, a movie adaptation of the musical was released starring Ben Platt, Kaitlyn Dever. Colton Ryan, and more. 

Upon the trailer’s release, there was immediate backlash because of the main character. Ben Platt played the main character in the movie and the musical. Everyone made comments regarding Ben Platt’s age, as he looked too old to play a high school student. Some people disagreed, saying that it’s possible to make him look younger with “movie magic”, while others said that Evan Hansen was Ben Platt’s role and that it was only natural that he would return as the iconic musical character. 

I went to go see this movie, and I heavily enjoy the musical, and I went to go see the musical at the Orpheum Theatre in Memphis, and I loved it. But I agreed to go into the movie with an open mind, and this is my full opinion.

I loved this movie. It was surprisingly very close to the book and musical, and it kept so much of the plot and the same material. It was easy to follow and kept the same soundtrack, even adding a new song that shows deeper into Alana Beck’s character. Ben Platt killed the role as Evan Hansen, just as he did on his Broadway debut. With countless references to the LGBT community, the BLM movement, etc., this movie welcomed audience members from everywhere to enjoy this cultural phenomenon. This movie also included humor that wasn’t in the musical, such as the iconic “well, you’ve probably never been poor” line that had me in tears. 

Speaking of tears, this movie will definitely make you cry. Especially during the You Will Be Found sequence, which lasts for an agonizing six minutes. Six minutes of your heart being ripped out of your chest and stomped on by Evan Hansen’s shoe. But the song is very well composed and the singers did very well, and it’s almost surreal, especially in a movie theatre where the screen is right in your face and the sound completely surrounds you. And Ben Platt’s age is the least of your worries when you watch the movie, he does an amazing job.

This movie is definitely a must-see, whether or not you’re a musical theatre fan. This play is extremely heartwarming and serves as a reminder that you are never alone in the world, and no matter what, things are always going to get much better.