“Dear Evan Hansen” Review


The screen adaptation of “Dear Evan Hansen” was released in theaters Sep. 24 and brought with it raging reviews. 

The story follows isolated, anxiety-stricken teenager Evan Hansen as he navigates high school trying to find understanding and belonging amid all of the chaos. His life is turned upside down when a letter he wrote to himself falls into the hands of the Murphy family whose son Connor took his own life. The letter appeared to be written by Connor because it was addressed “Dear Evan Hansen;” however, it was actually an assignment given by Evan’s therapist. 

As the story unfolds, in an attempt to make Connor’s family feel better, Evan creates a series of back-dated emails to make it look like he and Connor had been best friends for several months leading up to his suicide. He falls very deep into his own lies, which eventually catch up with him towards the end of the movie. As he lies to Connor’s family, he and Connor’s sister fall in love, all the while he pushes his own mother away. 

Eventually, the letter Connor’s family found that tied him to Evan in the first place was posted to social media. The letter made it look like Connor’s family had no clue what he was going through, and when it was made public, masses of people began raking the Murphy name through the mud. Evan is forced to choose whether he wants to tell the truth and admit that the entire friendship was fictitious or let the Murphy family bear the brunt of all of his mistakes. 

I saw the musical when it came to the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans in 2019, and I loved it. I will admit that I was nervous when I was told it was going to be turned into a movie, but to my delighted surprise, I loved the movie almost as much as the stage production. 

My only complaint about the movie is that one of my favorite songs “Does Anybody Have a Map” was taken out. 

With every subtraction, though, comes an addition. The song “The Anonymous One” did not appear in the stage version of this production, but I am so glad that it was added to the movie. 

The song highlights the importance of not judging a book by its cover. So many people move through their day wearing a smile and laughing, but sometimes that is the only way they can keep from crying. The “anonymous” one in the song is the person who is quietly struggling alone because he/she is too fearful of public rejection. 

One repeated line in the song sings, “the parts we can’t tell, we carry the well; but that doesn’t mean they’re not heavy.” In my opinion, the message here is that if we would just accept ourselves for who we are and share that with the world, we would not have all the weight to bear alone. 

Having been an anxious high school student myself, I found the movie to be very relatable. I would encourage everyone at the high school level and above to see this film to get a glimpse at what life is really like for some people. 

Some have written reviews that say the story glamorized what it is like to suffer from anxiety and depression, but I think that the movie portrays it well. 

The movie shows the good, the bad and the ugly of what high school years can be like when one is suffering from the various psychiatric complications that are swept under the rug by society.