'Dear Evan Hansen' and its Broadway pedigree get lost in translation

3 weeks ago 11
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(CNN)Despite its Broadway credentials, "Dear Evan Hansen" hits screens faced with an inherent tension: Can its songs and cast, led by Ben Platt reprising his Tony-winning role, flooded the uncomfortable premise and problematic protagonist? The reply is not completely, contempt tweaks seemingly made specifically to effort softening those edges.

Although 1 mightiness deliberation an acclaimed philharmonic wouldn't warrant specified concerns, the quality of the communicative -- astir a misunderstanding that becomes a lie, astatine archetypal benignant successful its intentions but progressively cruel arsenic it drags connected -- won't beryllium for everyone. And portion determination are a fewer beauteous songs from the squad of Benj Pasek and Justin Paul ("La La Land" and "The Greatest Showman"), astatine points that feels similar humble compensation for watching this slow-motion bid wreck unfold.

At its core, the communicative does accidental profound things astir the quality of grief and intelligence health, and possibly astir pointedly however radical often respond to calamity successful ways that marque the aftermath each astir them. In this case, that inclination transforms an alienated high-school kid nary 1 paid immoderate attraction into a origin and crusade aft his death.

    Still, what spoke to radical successful the theatre is diffused done the mean of film. Even with efforts to code immoderate of those issues -- tinkering with the ending, adding caller songs to heighten definite characters and excising aged ones -- the absorption remains squarely connected Platt's Evan, who fills successful gaps successful his troubled beingness astatine the disbursal of everyone astir him.

      "I privation that thing I said mattered to anyone," Evan grumbles successful his halting mode aboriginal on, penning letters addressed to himself arsenic an workout suggested by his therapist, which doesn't assistance successful immoderate appreciable way.

      But past 1 of those letters is snatched distant by Connor (Colton Ryan), who besides signs the formed connected Evan's arm. When Connor takes his ain life, his parents (Amy Adams and Danny Pino) presume that the "Dear Evan Hansen" enactment they recovered reveals a relationship astir which they didn't know.

      Ben Platt successful  the movie   adaptation of the philharmonic  'Dear Evan Hansen.'

      Evan goes along, past begins gathering connected the lie. In what feels a spot similar "The Music Man," the deception -- and self-deception -- works for a while, helping those grieving portion transforming Evan from a friendless outcast into an entity of sympathy astatine first, and yet lifting his status. Even the seemingly cleanable miss (Amandla Stenberg) admits her ain self-doubts, portion Evan present has an excuse to walk clip with Connor's sister Zoe ("Unbelievable's" Kaitlyn Dever, possibly the champion happening successful the film), idiosyncratic to whom helium could ne'er muster the courageousness to talk before.

      Yet Evan's remastered beingness is built connected a location of cards. Director Stephen Chbosky ("The Perks of Being a Wallflower"), moving from playwright Steven Levenson's script, wrings arsenic overmuch angst arsenic helium tin retired of that scenario, but astatine a definite constituent the crippled feels arsenic if it's spinning its wheels.

      In a twelvemonth dense connected musicals, the movie besides lacks galore show-stopping numbers, with the objection being Platt's rendition of "You Will Be Found," Evan's school-assembly speech, an anthem that virally reaches others hurting successful the mode that Connor had been.

      What the movie can't efficaciously bash is assistance the assemblage place with Evan, who gains relationships helium lacked done Connor's household astatine the imaginable disbursal of them, his azygous ma (Julianne Moore) and peers who person invested successful his elaborate fable.

      Some aboriginal disapproval has felt similar nitpicking (yes, older actors sometimes play high-school students), but the basal problems are harder to escape. It's besides hard not to comparison this adaptation with Apple TV+'s filmed mentation of different 2017 Tony nominee, "Come From Away," which preserves its powerfulness successful a mode this movie doesn't.

        On the positive side, anyone who wanted to spot "Dear Evan Hansen" connected signifier present has a chance, with the archetypal star. Yet portion the movie says thing that matters, for a amusement whose property notes proclaim it a "generation-defining Broadway phenomenon," a large woody appears to person been mislaid successful translation.

        "Dear Evan Hansen" premieres successful US theaters connected Sept. 24. It's rated PG-13.

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