Jury Coordination and Notes

Dear Evan Hansen * Outstanding Original Musical That Speaks Directly To The Heart

Dear Evan Hansen is a 2021 American coming-of-age musical teen drama movie directed by Stephen Chbosky from a screenplay by Steven Levenson. It is based on the 2015 stage musical of the same name by Levenson, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul. Ben Platt plays the title role, reprising the performance that he originated on stage. The ensemble cast also includes Kaitlyn Dever, Amandla Stenberg, Nik Dodani, Colton Ryan, Danny Pino, Julianne Moore, and Amy Adams.

The breathtaking, generation-defining Broadway phenomenon becomes a soaring cinematic event as Tony, Grammy and Emmy Award winner Ben Platt reprises his role as an anxious, isolated high schooler aching for understanding and belonging amid the chaos and cruelty of the social-media age.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Josephine M. comments, “The film musical Dear Evan Hansen, directed by Stephen Chbosky, is phenomenal and breathtaking. I really enjoyed watching this, because it is a true original, outstanding musical that speaks directly to the heart.” See her full review below.

Dear Evan Hansen
By Josephine M., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 16

The film musical Dear Evan Hansen, directed by Stephen Chbosky, is phenomenal and breathtaking. I really enjoyed watching this, because it is a true original, outstanding musical that speaks directly to the heart. Dear Evan Hansen is something extraordinary; it is not like any musical I have watched before and it has a really powerful message as it engages with the real world in ways that most musicals don’t.

Evan Hansen is an anxious, isolated high-school student who’s aching for understanding and belonging amid the chaos and cruelty of the social media age. He soon embarks on a journey of self-discovery when a letter he wrote for his therapy writing exercise falls into the hands of a grieving couple whose son took his own life. Evan is tossed in the tumult of a fractured, grieving family. Connor’s parents believe Evan was his best friend. But the reality is far different. Evan plays along with the charade, gaining the fame, adulation and love that he’s always dreamed of – all at the expense of Connor’s memory.

My favourite actor is Evan’s mother Heidi (Julianne Moore). Heidi is a single mom, working late-night nursing shifts to afford college for Evan. She desperately wants the best for him, even when he doesn’t notice her efforts. The film’s best scenes revolve around her; the first occurring when Cynthia and Larry offer to cover Evan’s tuition. She’s proud. And you can see the gears shifting inside of Heidi’s head before she declines. The film offers sympathy to all its characters by offering them the chance to sing their feelings out and make a case as to why they matter. 

The message of this film applies to teens trying to overcome social anxieties, reminding them that it’s okay to be anxious and depressed, and that being medicated for those things, if necessary, is normal and healthy. However, don’t change yourself just to fit into society; stand up for yourself. If something happens and you are caught up in the situation, be confident in yourself, no matter what. A note of caution: this film does address suicide, has some strong language and some suggestive references.

I give Dear Evan Hansen 4 out of 5 stars and recommend this film for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. It is available in theatres now.

Share this page on:
Kid movie news & Free DVDs:
Join KIDS FIRST! on Twitter Join KIDS FIRST! on YouTube Join KIDS FIRST! on Instagram Join KIDS FIRST! on Facebook Join KIDS FIRST! on Pinterest