By Tara Coffey
Today is going to be a good day, and here’s why: “Dear Evan Hansen” is now playing in theaters. This Broadway production has officially been adapted into a movie musical and it is nothing short of wonderful. As someone who has seen this show off Broadway when it was playing at Second Stage in New York City, as well as eight times on Broadway at The Music Box Theater, it can be easily said that this musical is one of my favorites. Going into this movie, many had high expectations and fingers crossed, and it did not let audiences down.
The story follows a young Evan Hansen, portrayed by Ben Platt, as he struggles with his mental health of social anxiety and depression. Evan is someone many teenagers and young adults can relate to, making this character very vulnerable to audiences. Evan is raised by a single mom who works as a nurse, so she can be absent from his life quite a bit. Another character audiences are soon exposed to is Connor Murphy, a teenage outcast who has anger issues and isolates himself from the world. Connor also seems to struggle with drug addiction, as it is not a secret that he was recently in rehab for his addictions.
Soon, it is revealed that Evan has a major crush on Connor’s more popular sister, Zoe Murphy. Although Evan has wanted to talk to her for years, he has never gathered the courage to approach Zoe, so he admires her from afar. Evan works with his therapist to deal with his social anxiety and depression by writing letters to himself beginning with “Today is a good day and here is why.”After enduring a tough first day of school, Evan writes a rather depressing note to himself, which Connor intercepts, worrying Evan. Several days later, Connor takes his own life, still holding Evan’s letter, which prompts Connor’s family to believe Connor’s suicide note was addressed to Evan, and they were friends. Evan decides to enforce this lie and ends up becoming close to the Murphy’s, allowing this lie to give closure to his family.
As someone who loves this musical, this film was highly anticipated. Platt was originally viewed as too old to play Evan, as he is now 28. Many were skeptical of whether or not Platt would stand out in this movie, but he fully captures the essence of Evan. Other actors have portrayed Evan on stage, but no one will ever come close to developing the effortless acting and singing skills that Platt has when engaging in the role of Evan, making him the perfect candidate for the movie version. Platt portrays the constant nervous angle of Hansen flawlessly and is by far outstanding in this role. His age was not an issue as he still has the essence of this character.
The entire movie took the basic storyline and premise of the Broadway production; however, it has more character development for the secondary characters, which allowed audiences to connect and empathize with every character shown. The movie also added two new songs, which show a different side to two characters, Connor and Alana, who are important to the storyline. The movie was both entertaining, relatable, heartwarming, and heartbreaking and is highly recommended to anyone who is struggling with mental health or knows someone who is.
Mental health is never something to be ashamed of and is something that many struggle with and fight in silence. It is perfectly understandable and allowed to ask others for help, and “Dear Evan Hansen” is an amazing representation of those who have battles, no matter what they may be. Since each character in this movie struggles with different issues, audiences can relate to at least one, which helps everyone understand that they are never alone.
If you or a loved one is struggling with mental health please ask for help from someone you trust, love or The National Suicide Hotline is available 24/7 at 800-273-8255. You are not alone and no matter what, at the end of the day “You Will Be Found.”
Tara Coffey, senior radio broadcasting major