“Dear Evan Hansen” is beyond dissapointing


"Dear Evan Hansen" by Joe Shlabotnik is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Watching the “Dear Evan Hansen” film felt like I was constantly having my fight or flight ignited, and instead of running, I could only freeze.

As it stands, “Dear Evan Hansen” is, without a doubt, the worst movie I’ve ever invested $6 and two and a half hours of my time in. I don’t take any joy from saying that, aside from the all-star cast and endurable singing, the film was the worst movie I’d ever seen.

Warnings are in order for graphic descriptions of suicide and mental illness.

While I was in high school, I was an avid fan of all things Broadway. Many musicals weren’t available to be watched and the film adaptations or soundtracks were all that fans of musicals had to go on.

Among some of my favorite soundtracks were “Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812,” “Be More Chill” and, probably the most famous, “Dear Evan Hansen.”

The plot of “Dear Evan Hansen” is nearly indiscernible from the soundtrack alone. Even now, I listen back and can’t quite comprehend what possessed the writers to compose this story.

“Dear Evan Hansen” follows the socially anxious high schooler, Evan Hansen. Evan invents a tragedy for himself when his fellow classmate, Connor Murphy, commits suicide.

Evan lies about having been friends with Connor and proceeds to lie to Connor’s family and everyone else around him. He ultimately begins to date Connor’s sister, Zoe, and becomes “adopted” into the Murphy household.

The musical handles Evan’s “adoption” into the Murphy family very strangely, reiterating the fact that Evan’s home life isn’t exactly ideal, with a mother who works night shifts as a nurse and a father who moved away.

The musical seems to use his negative home life and social anxiety as an excuse for him to get away with the horrible manipulation he puts this family through.

The film version of “Dear Evan Hansen” is, impossibly, so much worse than just listening to the soundtrack.

The original version of the musical included three songs that gave outside perspective into the world around Evan, instead of simply hearing him “wave through a window” and watching him drown in self-pity for two and a half hours.

In the film, they decided to cut the songs “Anybody Have a Map,” “To Break in a Glove” and most importantly “Good For You.”

“Good For You” is the only moment in the original musical where Evan’s mother, Connor’s parents, Zoe and the students, Jared and Alana, even remotely begin to hold Evan accountable for the things he’s done.

In the end, everyone still forgives him and it’s all sunshine and rainbows for Evan Hansen, but in cutting this pivotal scene of self-reflection and holding him accountable for the things he did to a grieving family, they remove any outside perspective and try to push the narrative that, just because Evan feebly apologizes through song, he deserves to get his way.

Watching the “Dear Evan Hansen” film felt like I was constantly having my fight or flight ignited, and instead of running, I could only freeze.

Of course, I laughed at the thirty-year-old man Naruto running away from the girl he thought was pretty, but as the second act rolled around, things quickly became far too heavy.

Evan Hansen is suicidal. This is supposed to build sympathy for his character, I think, but instead, it only makes me hate him more.

He, knowing what Connor was going through, still pushes his memory out of the way in order to get the girl and the family of his dreams. He refuses to take accountability, and even in “Words Fail,” his feeble apology, he still manages to make the situation about him.

Just because he wanted something, just because he saw something that he didn’t think he could have, he felt entitled to step on the lives of the people around him.

“Dear Evan Hansen” is a letter that doesn’t deserve a signature line. It should never have been written, especially with so much opportunity for the writers and composers to build something that actually gave people who are suicidal something to not feel alone.