Home Dear Evan Hansen (Subtitled)

Dear Evan Hansen (Subtitled) (12A)

Cast: Ben Platt, Julianne Moore, Kaitlyn Dever, Amy Adams, Amandla Stenberg
Genre: Musical
Author(s): Steven Levenson
Director: Stephen Chbosky
Release Date: 22/10/2021
Running Time: 137mins
Country: US
Year: 2021

Anxious high school student Evan is encouraged by his therapist to write letters to himself to boost his self-confidence. Classmate Connor Murphy steals one of these missives shortly before he takes his life. Connor's distraught parents, Cynthia and Larry, find the letter and mistakenly believe Evan was friends with their son. The Murphys take great comfort in the thought that Connor had at least one ally in this world and Evan refuses to shatter their illusions, setting in motion a chain of events which propels him into the spotlight.


LondonNet Film Review
Dear Evan Hansen (12A)

If there is one artform which demands gargantuan suspensions of belief, it’s the musical. Characters casually burst into song and don’t draw attention from anyone around them as background players spontaneously perform synchronised choreography without any rehearsal. Pitch Perfect alumnus Ben Platt is unquestionably too old to reprise the title role of a teenage outcast, who becomes a focal point for a community’s grief under false pretences, in director Stephen Chbosky’s film version of the blockbuster stage musical…

However, the same suspension of disbelief which allowed John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John to spread summer lovin’ in Grease at a similar age should be granted to Platt as he powers through a rousing call to arms for greater understanding of adolescent mental health. Working from a script by Steven Levenson and the music and lyrics of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Academy Award-winning composers of La La Land and The Greatest Showman, Dear Evan Hansen captures some of the magic of the award-winning stage production but misses the intimacy and electrifying raw emotion of the theatre.

Aspects which work well at a distance in an auditorium, like Evan’s physical tics, feel overdone when viewed in close-up and a reworked denouement softens the lead character too much. The songbook soars on screen, particularly Waving Through A Window and the barnstorming anthem You Will Be Found, and two new compositions, The Anonymous Ones and A Little Closer, exert gentle tugs on heartstrings.

Socially-awkward high school student Evan Hansen (Platt) has been advised by his therapist to write letters to himself to boost self-confidence and reduce the frequency of crippling anxiety attacks, which require a daily regimen of pills overseen by his hardworking single mother, Heidi (Julianne Moore). Classmate Connor Murphy (Colton Ryan) steals one of these missives from a printer shortly before he takes his own life and Connor’s distraught mother Cynthia (Amy Adams) and stepfather Larry (Danny Pino) find the letter folded in their boy’s pocket.

They mistakenly deduce that Connor wrote the letter to “his best, most dearest friend” Evan. The Murphys take comfort from the thought that outcast Connor had at least one friend and Evan refuses to shatter their illusions, setting in motion a chain of events which propels him into the spotlight and endears him to Connor’s sister Zoe (Kaitlyn Dever). When class president Alana Beck (Stenberg) galvanises support for a memorial service, the uncomfortable truth about Evan’s deception threatens to come to light.

Dear Evan Hansen diminishes in power on the big screen but still packs a flurry of emotional punches when it counts. Platt strains sinews to put himself through the wringer and comes across far creepier in his intentions than on stage, while Moore makes the most of her apologetic solo So Big/So Small. Chbosky’s film reclines, sometimes awkwardly, between those two extremes.

– Jo Planter


London Cinemas Showing Dear Evan Hansen (Subtitled)


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UK and Irish Cinemas Showing Dear Evan Hansen (Subtitled)


From: Friday 26th November
To: Thursday 2nd December

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From: Friday 3rd December
To: Thursday 9th December

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