When art imitates art... is the art better than the imitated art?
In the case of DEAR EVAN HANSEN, the movie adaptation of the smash Broadway Musical, its good... but it's not quite as magical as the original, that is, the Broadway production.
If you've not seen the musical, or read about it, or heard about it, the story follows the plight of Evan Hansen, an anxious, introverted high schooler who struggles with depression among other mental health challenges. He encounters another deeply troubled student, Connor Murphy, who intercepts a note Evan is writing to himself - part of an exercise he's been assigned by his therapist - and that leads Evan, played in the movie by Ben Platt, down a rabbit hole of dishonesty, fabrications, lies and more. As the stories evolve, Evan finds himself stuck between telling the truth, and being true to himself, or continuing to live a lie which has brought about some unexpected consequences.
I've intentionally left details about the story and plot out of this review because I don't want to spoil the movie for people who haven't seen the musical, but if you have seen the musical, you'll know there's a certain magic you can't duplicate on a screen. While it does the job, seeing the musical in a theater, either locally or in New York on Broadway, is something special. Seeing the musical, as a movie, well, connects but in a much different way.
The cast does a great job. Platt defined the character on Broadway so he brings that swagger. Julianne Moore plays Evan's mom and she's great, as is Amy Adams who plays Connor Murphy's mom. Kaitlyn Dever is great as Zoe Murphy, too...
The movie is worth seeing, but, just know that the musical, at least to me, was a bit more powerful... magical even... that's not knocking the movie or the cast at all, it's just that sometimes, art imitates art... but the original art... is sometimes just hard to top.
Dear Evan Hansen - the Movie - in theaters this weekend.
Note - I was allowed to screen the movie thanks to Allied Global Marketing and Paramount.