Coming from director Stephen Chbosky and Universal Pictures is the story of pain, sadness and hope with DEAR EVAN HANSEN.
High schooler Evan Hansen (Ben Platt) lives with single hard working Mom Heidi (Julianne Moore). Dealing with anxiety issues, Evan takes medications and follows with therapy. Trying to understand why he does not fit in; Evan tries to write supportive letters to himself.
On one particular day after a run in with Connor Murphy (Colton Ryan) and a signed cast, he takes a letter belonging to Evan never meant for anyone to see. After a day or two of high anxiety, Evan is called into the principal’s office.
Waiting for him is Cynthia (Amy Adams) and Larry (Danny Pino), Connor’s parents. He learns the awful truth about Connor and Cynthia sees the signature on Evan’s cast and believes that the two boys were friends. Not knowing how to handle it, he says nothing. Going to their house for dinner, Evan meets Zoe (Kaitlyn Dever) and sees the family dynamics of pain but wants to be there for her.
Enlisting the help of Jared (Nik Dodani), he creates a falsehood and finds himself dug in. Truly wanting things to be different, Evan comes face to face with what he has done and the consequences it will bring to all.
Platt as Evan is a young man who is trying to deal with every gambit of emotion. A chance meeting with Connor starts a chain reaction that he could never have seen coming. Platt has a beautiful voice and uses it to invite viewers into the world that plagues him. Mixed with sorrowful expressions, we are planted squarely into the trauma that is coming.
Dever as Zoe has her own pain to deal with left behind with parents who she can not reach. Evan offers her a respite to remember her brother in a different light. Dever begins as a young girl frozen in her own way but grows right before our eyes.
Adams as Cynthia is a mother who clearly wants to believe in the positive. Seeing something in Evan that offers her hope to hang on to a son she feared would disappear from memory. Adams has the cheery disposition but also the deep sadness of a mother conflicted by so much that there are no answers for.
Pino as Larry is a straightforward stepdad who is trying to keep it all together. When confronted with the reality of his expectations and memories – he comes to believe in Evan. Pino keeps that straight face and tight emotions and when he does allow emotion, he gives us a broken heart.
Ryan as Connor, although a short role, is the focus of the story. His musical with Platt is ingenious and so well done as both actors flow so well together. Dodani as Jared is a family member we can probably all relate to, he has his moments of wit but he is there for Evan come what may.
Other cast include: Amandla Stenberg as Alana, DeMarius Copes as Oliver, Liz Kate as Gemma, Zoey Luna as Leila, Isaac Powell as Rhys, Marvin Leon as Skye, Hadiya Eshe as Cherise, Julia Meyers as Naomi, Gerald Caesar as Josh, Avery Bederman as Isabella and Swift Rice as Mr. Howard.
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment has just added an amazing film to their library and making it available for us to all experience and re-experience in our own home theaters. There are films of every genre available from scary to drama to family films. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.uphe.com.
DEAR EVAN HANSEN is a film about those who feel like they are not seen in the world. There are different ways anxiety works and this story attempts to tackle quite a few scenarios. From Evan’s outward fear of having an anxiety attack to Alana’s busy tactics of avoiding her issues to how Connor dealt with his own.
The music is beautiful, and the voices provide so much emotion. The film is based on the 2015 musical Dear Evan Hansen allowing Ben Platt a chance to bring his stage performance to the big screen. Interscope Records will be releasing the soundtrack as well with artists such as Sam Smith, Dan + Shay and Carrie Underwood. Songs such as Waving Through a Window and You Will Be Found are lovely and have a lot to say for those who might need a little help finding the words.
The storyline itself is a bit rough in that from start to finish, the audience is not given much time to take a breath. Starting out with pain, it continues and is a bit overpowering by the end of the film. That is not to say the film does not have something to say, I think perhaps it has so much to say in a short space. The cast does an amazing job in the roles absolutely!
In the end – it is a story for the outsider in us all.