Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Dear Evan Hansen Review: The Same Heart But Not The Same Soul As The Musical

Ben Platt	...	Evan Hansen Julianne Moore	Julianne Moore	...	Heidi Hansen Kaitlyn Dever	Kaitlyn Dever	...	Zoe Murphy Amy Adams	Amy Adams	...	Cynthia Murphy Danny Pino	Danny Pino	...	Larry Mora Amandla Stenberg	Amandla Stenberg	...	Alana Beck Colton Ryan	Colton Ryan	...	Connor Murphy Nik Dodani	Nik Dodani	...	Jared Kalwani DeMarius Copes	DeMarius Copes	...	Oliver Liz Kate	Liz Kate	...	Gemma Isaac Powell	Isaac Powell	...	Rhys Marvin Leon	Marvin Leon	...	Skye Hadiya Eshé	Hadiya Eshé	...	Cherise Julia Chen Myers	Julia Chen Myers	...	Naomi Gerald Caesar	Gerald Caesar	...	Josh Avery Bederman	Avery Bederman	...	Isabelle Swift Rice	Swift Rice	...	Mr. Howard Tommy Kane	Tommy Kane	...	Greg

Release date: September 24, 2021
Running time: 137 minutes
Directed by: Stephen Chbosky
Cast: Ben Platt, Amy Adams, Julianne Moore, Kaitlyn Dever, Amandla Stenberg, Nik Dodani, Danny Pino, Colton Ryan, DeMarius Copes

The breathtaking, generation-defining Broadway phenomenon becomes a soaring cinematic event as Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award winner Ben Platt reprises his role as an anxious, isolated high schooler aching for understanding and belonging amid the chaos and cruelty of the social-media age.   

Mariana Alvarez	...	Mrs. G Amelia McArthur	Amelia McArthur	...	Partygoer Dru Reel	Dru Reel	...	Partygoer Rest of cast listed alphabetically: Chloe Asbell	Chloe Asbell	...	Student (as Chl) Tess Aubert	Tess Aubert	...	'You Will Be Found' Performers Ceci Balagot	Ceci Balagot	...	'You Will Be Found' Performers Luke Bambrick	Luke Bambrick	...	High School Student Krystle Bono	Krystle Bono	...	Hites Employee Kate Chen	Kate Chen	...	High School Student Deanna Crawford	Deanna Crawford	...	High School Teacher Nic Curtis	Nic Curtis	...	Student Austin Scott Hunter	Austin Scott Hunter	...	High School Student (as Austin Hunter) J. Quinton Johnson	J. Quinton Johnson	...	'You Will Be Found' Performers Jamie Michelle Kelley	Jamie Michelle Kelley	...	High school student Yukimasa Kondoh	Yukimasa Kondoh	...	High School Student Grace Lu	Grace Lu	...	'You Will Be Found' Performers Natalie Mears	Natalie Mears	...	High School Student Morgan Monroe	Morgan Monroe	...	High School Student
Most importantly, Dear Evan Hansen has the songs that you love from the musical now in the film.  And thankfully it also has Ben Platt reprising his theatrical role as Evan Hansen.  The man knows the character and personifies him well.  He has awkward mannerisms, social anxiety, and his great singing voice.  And the story of Dear Evan Hansen still has an ultimately positive message and some very emotional scenes.  The "You Will Be Found" scene is thankfully just as well done as in the musical and several of the scenes have similar emotional impact.  Overall, this is a solid remake of the musical.

But Dear Evan Hansen does have some negatives versus the stellar musical.  Bringing Ben Platt back was a fantastic choice, but the rest of the cast--despite being phenomenal actors--just don't have the same range as the Broadway singers.  I wish they had used other Broadway actors but I understand why they used big name stars.  They do a good job and most of the songs are still emotional, but it just doesn't have the same impact.  And the movie makes a few changes to the story to update it to a more modern times, but these changes feel clunky.  There is a major emotional scene that just doesn't make much sense.  And the filmmakers changed the ending to have a slightly different build up that also feels a bit strange.  I felt that it changed the underlying message of the ending.  It makes the ending a little too Hollywood and less raw like in the musical.  

Dear Evan Hansen has the same songs, Ben Platt, and emotional story that made it a smash Broadway hit, but the changes to get to the big screen make this an imitation and not a reimagining of the original.

Rent it.

Michael Bederman	...	executive producer Steven Levenson	...	executive producer Stacey Mindich	...	executive producer Benj Pasek	...	executive producer Justin Paul	...	executive producer Marc Platt	...	producer (p.g.a.) Kelsey Nicolle Scott	...	co-producer Adam Siegel	...	producer (p.g.a.)
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Dear Evan Hansen is in theaters on September 24, 2021.  For showtimes, click here.

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