Dear Evan Hansen Please Don’t Be a Movie Adaptation

Ben Platt starred in Evan Hansen, which proved to be a disappointing movie adaptation of the Broadway musical. Platt, who reprised his role as Evan Hansen, did not lack in vocal ability, but the actual lines, makeup, and acting of his fellow cast-mates failed to compliment his musical talent. The overall plot of the movie, frankly, makes a mockery of mental health. The premise of the movie is that Evan’s classmate Connor has just died from suicide, and Connor’s parents believe they were friends. They think this is true because Connor had a letter from Evan in his pocket, but in actuality, Connor had taken the letter from Evan as a way to mock him. Evan makes a poor attempt at explaining the situation, yet Connor’s parents, rather problematically, pressure him into saying they were friends. Throughout the movie, Evan continues in this lie until he believes he needs to confess to Connor’s family. Most of the speaking parts included verbiage that is not natural to high school students. The line, “What do you take?” from actress Amandla Stenberg, who played Evan’s classmate Alana, was referencing which medication Evan takes for his mental health. This question feels awkward to the audience since they’re having their first actual conversation in the movie, and it comes off as a poor attempt to prove that many people struggle with mental health. Other awkward moments include when Evan tries to make Connor’s sister, Zoe, believe that Connor cared about her. Evan does this by singing what ends up being a love song which results in about ten layers of awkwardness in the eyes of the audience. Furthermore, every single interaction between Connor’s mom and Evan is strange. She basically forces even to come have dinner at her family’s house. From there, he hangs out with the family frequently, and he even ends up wearing Connor’s tie at Cynthia’s insistence. The dynamic between every character feels forced and toxic. The makeup in the movie is not a problem because it looks bad, it’s a problem because it’s used as a poor attempt to make Ben Platt, a 28-year-old man, look like a teenager. Instead of accomplishing this, it makes Platt look incredibly pale and sickly. Anyone who has seen Ben Platt in other shows, such as The Politician, knows that he has clearly defined features and is somewhat tan. While Platt didn’t always come off as sincere, when he sang, he was able to find a degree of depth to the emotions of the movie. His cast-mates, however, continuously act stiffly. Amy Adams, who played Cynthia, has a creepy smile on her face whenever she speaks to Evan, which continuously unsettles the audience. Overall, the idea that the story of Evan, who lies about having a friendship with Connor, should overshadow the story of Connor, who committed suicide and had a clear struggle with mental health, glosses over the effects of losing someone to a mental health crisis. If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health issues, contact the National Suicide Hotline at 800-273-8255.

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