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Release Date: September 24th, 2021 Movie Release Year: 2021

Dear Evan Hansen - Theatrical Review

Overview -

Much like video games that are adapted for the big screen, stage plays that transform into feature films usually suffer from a myriad of problems. What works on stage and on a video game console doesn't necessarily translate to a narrative feature, even if it won numerous awards in its original medium. There are only a handful of exceptions to this rule, but with this new translation of the hit Broadway show Dear Evan Hansen aiming to excite its millions of fans on the silver screen, this feature production just doesn't hold a candle to what transpires live on stage. The important messages and themes, memorable musical numbers, and brilliant characters are present, but everything is dialed back and what seemed to breeze by on stage drags at a slow crawl through this 140-minute run time. Dear Evan Hansen works well when it works, but unfortunately, long stretches of the film fall flat. For Die-Hard Fans Only.  

Coming to Theaters Friday, September 24th
Order Your Tickets to Dear Evan Hansen on Fandango 


For Fans Only
Rating Breakdown
Tech Specs & Release Details
Release Date:
September 24th, 2021

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take


From the 2015 award-winning stage musical by Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul, the reigns were turned over to writer/director Stephen Chbosky who has given the world some incredible stories and movies. Those included Wonder and The Perks Of Being A Wallflower to name a few. Ben Platt reprises his role as the title character for the first time since the original stage play made its collision in New York all those years ago. He is joined by Amy Adams, Julianne Moore, Kaitlyn Dever (Booksmart), Nik Dodani (Atypical), and Amandla Stenberg (The Hate You Give). While everyone's performance is good enough, everyone is a little less energetic. This leads to some stale performances, even the musical numbers don't have that same upbeat feel during the faster-paced cues. It's difficult to underutilize Adams and Moore, but in this feature film version, they feel underplayed and less-than characters, which is very different from the stage play. 

Even though Platt is nearing his third decade, he plays a high school senior well enough and despite some sequences where he looks much older than he actually is, his mannerisms, body language, and voice sound timid and awkward enough to sell his younger age. That's not the issue with this movie at all. The big problem here is the pacing and musical numbers that are so out of place in a feature film that almost every time someone starts singing the narrative and emotional moments stop.

It's odd to say, because on stage with a live audience, the music is important and wonderful, but it just doesn't translate to the screen. As Evan tries to explain to Connor's parents that they were friends and all the activities they used to do when everyone is sad and crying, Evan has to break into song and completely stops the film from any momentum on an emotional spectrum to carry a tune. This element affects the entirety of the movie and only works during the more upbeat, fun songs. But for those who know this show and story - that's not the case. The film is filled with suicide, divorce, abandonment, a big lie, and more - none of which has that stereotypical happy ending. 


Video Review


Audio Review


Special Features


Final Thoughts

Numbers that stick out nicely are of course, "Sincerely Me" where the deceased Colton appears with Evan and Jared as they traverse through the halls of school singing about their faux letters. The dance sequences of the trio walking through the many rooms of high school are wonderful to watch. And the other memorable number done right is the hit song from the play "You Will Be Found" as he addresses the entire school on their fake friendship, which makes use of social media and all of the public that sent in videos in the real world to be a part of this movie. Other than these two short sequences, Dear Evan Hansen is a bore and extremely awkward to watch when a tense and emotional scene is happening that oddly breaks out into song. It was necessary and worked on stage in front of a live audience, but in this feature film structure - it just doesn't work. For Hardcore Fans Only!

Coming to Theaters Friday, September 24th
Order Your Tickets to Dear Evan Hansen on Fandango