A new musical is always something that perks my interest because the genre has offered up a number of classics over the years, recent years proving incredibly strong. Dear Evan Hansen is the film adaptation of the smash-hit Broadway musical that comes with a wave of expectation that it sadly doesn't meet. 

Evan Hansen (Ben Platt), a high-school senior with a severe social-anxiety disorder, whose letter to himself that was not meant to be seen by others, lands wrongly into the hands of a classmate who, as a result, commits suicide. This incident sends Evan on a journey of self-discovery and gives him the chance to finally be accepted by his peers and live the life he never dreamed he could have.
I've not seen a film deliver its message in such a troubling way for some time but Dear Evan Hansen feels as if jazz hands will make up for it. Mental health is an important subject to get right if you're going to centre your film around it but Dear Evan Hansen stumbles its way through a narrative that just makes you stand back and think "Hang on a second." 

Ben Platt played the character originally on Broadway so I get the sentimentality of playing the character in the film however, he was playing a college student about ten years prior to this in Pitch Perfect and fit the role but now has to pass as a high school student, throwing suspension of disbelief straight out the window. 

Part of the success of a musical depends massively on its songs and that's another area where Dear Evan Hansen disappoints, the songs all blending into one and not sticking in the memory at all. They're not staged very well either, odd cutting choices and setups making for some uncomfortable viewing, both visually and topic wise. 
The cast are OK, Kaitlyn Dever and Julianne Moore not doing any harm to their reputations while Amy Adams gives one of my least favourite performances of the year as Connor's mother, overjoyed her son had a friend but far too overbearing on the film. Ben Platt makes a valiant effort at playing the role that must be so close to his heart but his casting just took me out of the film so much. 

There's a crushing disappointment that came over me as Dear Evan Hansen finished, wanting so much for it to stun me and fill me with emotion. Instead it just left me feeling nothing at all.



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