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The Antelope

The Antelope

Dear Evan Hansen, I liked your movie. Sincerely, me

“Dear Evan Hansen” is a movie-adaptation of the 2016 musical by Steven Levenson.

The heart-wrenching story of “Dear Evan Hanson” has transformed from a broadway play, to a bestselling book and now to a big screen move. After two years of listening intently to Steven Levenson’s lyrics, I watched the characters come to life at Kearney’s Golden Ticket Cinemas.

For those who are unfamiliar with “Dear Evan Hanson,” the plot is based around an anxious high school student who yearns for friends. As an assignment from his therapist, he writes letters to himself.Connor Murphy happens upon Evan’s letter, before taking it. Connor commits suicide soon-after and the note is found in his pocket. The Murphy family mistakes Evan’s letter as Connor’s suicide note and begs Evan for more information about their son and their “friendship.” The already bad situation, worsens from there.

Nonetheless, I was excited to listen to the beloved songs.

Within the first 10 minutes, I forgot that Ben Platt is a 28-year-old man and not a troubled high school senior boy. The fact of the matter is, no one else will ever be able to top his portrayal of Evan Hanson. The breaks in his voice, vibrato and spot-on tone sells the emotion (and there is plenty of it in this film).

The audience feels Evan’s loneliness when he starts his first day of his senior year. I would feel alone too if no one in a crowded hallway even acknowledged me randomly breaking into song. 

The songs are the inner-thoughts of the characters. This only works because of the brilliant camera angles and the focus on Evan as he drifts through the hallways.

Some songs were subtracted from the original “Dear Evan Hanson” playlist. The creators remedied this by incorporating “Good for You” and “Anybody Have A Map?” into the band members that played during the pep rally. Out of all of them, I was extremely disappointed when “Disappear,” well, disappeared. That song is so indicative to the musical’s message, but perhaps the creators thought it was overkill when there are other songs on the playlist that convey the same message.

I was skeptical about the revised playlist, but “The Anonymous Ones” proved me wrong. That song brings to light those who hide their inner-struggles. It was the first of about three times I cried throughout the movie.

Despite Evan’s angelic voice and relatable struggle with mental health, I cannot get past the twisted web of lies he weaves throughout the film. Wow. There is a reason why the plot is so unique — because nobody would ever do what he did in real life (I would hope.)

This film gets four out of five Lopers from me. What saves it from three, is the music and the great acting. It was told better as a story of grief, instead of mental health. It has powerful messages, but I am too emotionally weak to watch “Dear Evan Hansen” again for a while.

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