REVIEW: “Dear Evan Hansen” brings awareness to mental health through songs

The six-time Tony Awards winning musical hits the big screen with Ben Platt reprising his role as “Evan Hansen.”


Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures

Kizzy Azcarate, Entertainment Editor

Due to COVID-19, fans had a small variety of current musicals to choose from to view at home. The musical “Dear Evan Hansen” made its big screen debut on Sept. 24 with Ben Platt reprising his Tony Award-winning role as Evan Hansen.

“Dear Evan Hansen” is a musical film about mental health, isolation, and the desire to belong. Evan spends most of his time alone and has to look after himself, as his single mother works overtime as a nurse to save up for his college fund.

During Evan’s darkest period of time, he finds himself feeling more alone because of social media. His limited followers and lack of interaction with anyone allows him to abandon his conscience once he begins to receive attention stemming from a lie.

His therapist assigns him to write himself a letter, which snowballs into a lie that Connor Murphy, played by Colton Ryan, a struggling drug addict classmate who committed suicide, was secretly best friends with Hansen.

The Murphy family holds onto Evan’s letter believing it’s their dead son’s, and Evan allows the family to continue thinking their son wrote the letter because of the happiness they felt believing their son had a true friend.

As Evan spends more time with the Murphys and his classmates take more interest in him, he begins to feel less of an outcast and becomes a vessel for others to open up about their struggles with mental health.

While the film has met many criticisms on the casting of Platt because of his significantly older look among a cast that resembles high schoolers, it is quickly forgotten once Platt begins to sing.

Contradicting opinions believe that the film is making Evan out to be a hero despite him manipulating a mourning family and his classmates for attention. Yet, the main takeaway should be understanding the lengths a person will go to feel accepted and understood.

Mental illness takes many forms in the film, whether it’s depression, social anxiety, suicide, or addiction, the portrayals of each characters’ struggles allows for an audience member to empathize with.

Kizzy Azcarate is the Entertainment Editor for the University Press. For information regarding this or other stories, tweet her @Kizzy_kinz or [email protected]