Dear Evan Hansen

Dear Evan Hansen ★★★★

Any fear that Dear Evan Hansen might not make the transition from the stage to film intact need not have been a worry because CGI and the digital nature of Social Media go hand in hand. It's hard to imagine anyone other than Ben Platt playing and singing the part of Evan Hansen with that angelic and emotionally moving voice of his. Essentially, the film is a paean to teenage anomie which is made acute by the bullying cliquish, exclusive, groupie tendencies of secondary school. When the film begins we see Evan, an anxiety-ridden high school boy with a cast on his arm without any signage on it. Eventually, the one person who signs it, an extremely neurotic other student named Connor, will end up not only linking himself to Evan and overlap his life like a Venn Diagram but will also end up changing Evan's life forever. Though unexceptional locations are used in the film (suburban home interiors, high school halls and classrooms and administration offices) the director, Steven Chbosky (Wonder and Perks of Being a Wallflower), photographs them with an acute widescreen perspective that heightens the landscape of the story into the hyperreal daubing every surface with cathexis that is charged with emotion. The songs, which are an endless series of interior monologues and soliloquys, forge invisible tunnels down busy school hallways, neighborhoods and inside houses. The film manages to critique the iniquities as well as celebrate the virtues of social media -- which has become a nemesis and a generator of instant fame at the same time. In this way it addresses the loneliness, isolation and pain of the adolescent outlier, and at this point, it has no rivals. Excellent supporting roles by Julianne Moore, Amy Adams, Danny Pino and Colton Ryan.

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