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The poster for “Dear Evan Hansen” Movie

The day you see “Dear Evan Hansen” is going to be a good day, and here’s why.

This coming-of-age movie-musical, released Sept. 24, tells the emo­tional story of a socially-anxious teenager’s life fol­lowing the suicide of a classmate.

Directed by Stephen Chbosky of “Perks of Being a Wall­flower,” “Dear Evan Hansen” is a screen adap­tation of the six Tony award-winning Broadway musical. It stars the original actor for Evan Hansen, Ben Platt. 

Evan Hansen is a high schooler strug­gling with anxiety and a broken arm, tasked by his ther­apist with writing letters to himself — starting each one with “Dear Evan Hansen.” 

Though Platt has evi­dently aged since the musical’s 2016 pre­miere, his vocal per­for­mance did not dis­ap­point fans of the original play. While the “Dear Evan Hansen” play and original sound­track is moving and enter­taining, the movie was able to deepen the audience’s con­nection to the char­acters of the story due to the larger cast and variety of scenes. The movie enabled viewers to step farther into the char­acters’ worlds to better under­stand what they were going through. 

Unlike the 2020 “Hamilton” film, the movie is more than a play on film. It fea­tures two original songs and expands upon the play’s solemn ending by adding an element of healing to each of the character’s stories. 

Platt opens the movie with “Waving through a Window,” feeling like an out­sider on the first day of his senior year. The film adaptation’s larger cast amplified the reception of the character’s lone­liness as Evan is immersed in a busy high school setting as he sings. The movie accu­rately depicted an over­whelmed teenager through the chaos of the school halls. 

Evan’s troubled classmate, Connor Murphy, played by Colton Ryan, swipes Evan’s first letter to himself from the library printer. Ryan’s per­for­mance imme­di­ately depicted Murphy as a char­acter the audience wants to better understand. 

Connor’s parents, played by Amy Adams and Danny Pino, read the letter and assume Evan and Connor were best friends, and Evan is too anxious to tell them the truth. In their grief, they cling to Evan as their son. Their emo­tional per­for­mance when they speak to Evan puts the audience in Evan’s place, helping viewers under­stand the moti­vation behind Evan’s complex deception. Evan finds accep­tance in the family he always wanted, and he weaves a deep web of lies to prove his friendship with Connor. 

In “Sin­cerely Me,” one of the fun­niest musical numbers in the movie, Evan and a tech-savvy friend, played by Nik Dodani, concoct a series of letters between Evan and Connor. Sung by Ryan and Platt, the song serves as comic relief in a heavy story. 

Though founded on lies, Evan’s rela­tionship with the Murphy’s brings healing to their family as well as to him. 

“You’ve given me my brother back,” Evan’s love-interest, Zoe Murphy, played by Kaitlyn Dever, says. 

Evan works with high school activist Alana, played by Amandla Stenberg, to hold an emo­tional memorial for Connor, at which he sings a pow­erful “You Will Be Found.” 

“Even when the dark comes crashing through / When you need a friend to carry you / And when you’re broken on the ground / You will be found,” he sings

Of course, Evan must reap the con­se­quences when his lies crumble and the truth is revealed. 

The emo­tions of the actors, par­tic­u­larly Amy Adams, were moving throughout the film. Adams’ emo­tional per­for­mance and vivid facial expres­sions left very few dry eyes in the theater. 

However, Platt’s age detracts from the story’s believ­ability. Besides Platt, the whole cast appears to be high­school aged, but Platt’s hair and make-up turn him into more of a giant Frodo than a real­istic high­schooler. As a result, the movie only received a 29% Rotten Tomatoes rating. While the music did not dis­ap­point and the acting was largely flawless, a high school aged cast would have increased the movie’s plausibility. 

Yet, director Chbosky said he never con­sidered a lead besides Platt. 

“It was always Ben,” he told The Hol­lywood Reporter. “Having heard the sound­track and knowing what it was, under­standing his con­nection to it from the very first workshop, it was him or nothing.”

Overall, the cast of “Dear Evan Hansen” and show-stopping music make the movie a must-see for fans of the original soundtrack.