Dear Evan Hansen – Budget of $28 million – 2 hours and 17 minutes
Evan suffers from social anxiety, so his therapist prescribed him medication and gave Evan an assignment. Evan has to write a letter to himself every day and bring the letters to his next therapy session. Before the first day of school, he tries to write a letter. But the words don’t come easy. In the library, he completes his first letter and prints it. While in line for the printer, Connor sees that no one signed Evan’s cast. So Connor grabs a sharpie and writes his name. Now they can pretend they are friends. Connor grabs the paper off the printer and starts to read it. Connor sees that it has his sister’s name, and he is furious. Connor believes Evan pretended to have a conversation to trick him. So Connor puts the paper in his pocket and walks away. Evan chases after Connor to get the letter back, but Connor, with unadulterated rage, screams at Evan and pushes him down.
Over the next few days, Evan fears Connor will show the school the letter, but nothing happens. Then the principal calls Evan into his office. Connor’s mother, Cynthia, and step-father, Larry, want to speak to Evan in private. They tell Evan that Connor took his life and addressed his suicide note to Evan. Cynthia hands Evan the letter. When Evan tries to explain, Cynthia spots his cast with Connor’s name on it. They ask Evan to come to dinner.
At the dinner table, Evan sits with Connor’s parents and Connor’s sister, Zoe. For years, Evan has had a crush on Zoe but couldn’t get past his anxiety to talk to her. As Evan looks at Connor’s family, he can see they are waiting with bated breath to hear about Connor. Everyone except Zoe. Zoe remembers Connor as a drug addict with rage issues. But Cynthia believes there must be something good about Connor if Evan was his friend. So Evan starts to talk and doesn’t stop. He makes up a friendship with Connor that goes viral and takes on a life of its own. When Evan speaks his truth, he will reveal more pain than anyone could imagine.
When it comes to this type of film, there are three kinds of people. The first hates musicals, so this movie isn’t for them. The next set is musical purists who never want to see plays made into films/. This movie isn’t for you either. The final group is the non-purist who may or may not have seen the play. The director made this movie for you. With that said, this movie has the best and most heartfelt songs from the musical turned book (FTC Affiliate Disclaimer). However, it uses the movie format to take advantage of funny cuts and repeats. This movie beautifully expresses two sides to social anxiety and depression.
Some people will retreat within and hide from the world. They have a hard time talking to people or making friends. On the other hand, some people overachieve to mask their insecurities. While everything looks great, they are moments away from falling apart at the seams. Also, this movie doesn’t go for the simple bullying angle to gain sympathy for Connor. He does deal with bullies, but he has rage issues stemming from drug addiction. Zoe and Larry have trouble mourning Connor because they remember the emotional pain Connor put them through. Let’s not forget the social media aspect in this film. In school, Connor has no one. But when his story goes viral, the whole school says they loved him and wants to join a club to help. As the fanfare dies down, so does the club membership. With social media, social warriors emerge with words but little to no action. This film may not be for everyone, but it will strike a chord with everyone who watches.
I give it 4 out of 5 stars
We have people watching us – Alana
That’s not funny – Jared
Then stop laughing – Connor
Yeah and you never been poor – Evan
Is your room upstairs – Zoe