Movie Review: Dear Evan Hansen


Oliver Willie

Image of the movie poster for Dear Evan Hansen.

By Oliver Willie

Disclaimer: This review will be discussing topics related to mental illness and suicide. If you are sensitive to any of these topics and the discussion of these topics may put you at risk, do not continue reading. Resources are included at the end of the article. 

Dear Evan Hansen is streaming on Apple TV, Vudu and Amazon. It’s a movie adaptation of the musical from 2016. New and old fans alike flocked to theaters to see it on the big screen.

What is Dear Evan Hansen?

“Dear Evan Hansen” is the story of a high school student named Evan Hansen. The audience can infer that Evan has some kind of mental illness, as we see a bottle of medication prescribed to him, as well as hearing about his therapist, who recommends he write letters addressed to himself as a form of therapy.

Evan meets another student named Connor Murphy, who ends up finding the letter that Evan wrote to himself, and gets mad because his sister Zoe’s name is in it. Feeling creeped out, Connor takes the letter, and for the next few days nobody sees Connor at school. 

Later, Evan gets called to the main office, and meets Connor’s parents, who reveal that Connor has committed suicide. They tell him they found a letter addressed to Evan which he recognizes as the letter he wrote to himself. Because of this letter, they believe Evan was Connor’s friend, and want to talk to him to find out about their son’s life. Evan, because of his own anxiety, can’t bring himself to tell the truth. The movie follows the consequences of Evan’s lies, and the aftermath of Connor’s death.


Overall, I thought the movie was pretty good. I loved the cinematography, some of the shots were very unique. They used the movie sets to their advantage to create very interesting and appealing shots, some of which paired very well with the songs. For example, in the first song, “Waving Through a Window,” Evan is singing, and we see him through a window.

Some more great shots that really stuck with me were the shots in the hallway and the gymnasium. In these, Evan stands still in the middle of his peers who are all moving around, creating a feeling of chaos happening around him. It gives the audience an idea of how he’s feeling and I like that kind of detail.

Something I enjoyed in particular was the addition of songs distinctive to the movie. It made the movie unique from the musical, and gave original fans another reason to see the movie. One of these songs, “The Anonymous Ones,” really let the character Alana Beck, played by Amandla Stenberg, shine and allowed the spotlight to be on them for a while. Both new songs, the other being “A Little Closer,” were great additions for the movie. 

Director Stephen Chbosky made the interesting choice of having the original actor, Ben Platt, return for the role of Evan. It was definitely fun seeing him fill his role once again for the big screen, but was also somewhat off-putting. I say this because he is much older than Evan, and it really shows in the movie. The 27-year-old does a great job playing the high schooler, but doesn’t look like one. It definitely makes for some awkward scenes, like the scene where Evan kisses Zoe, whose actor looks much younger, but altogether it’s something that can be looked past.

Topics Covered by the Movie

The movie deals with many complex and heavy topics like grief, familial problems, mental health, poverty, and bullying. The movie is used as an outlet to bring these kinds of issues to light and shows how these things can affect people. The inclusion of these topics makes way for rich, complex characters that feel real, not written.

The movie also deals with the topics of suicide and mental illness, specifically in adolescents. The movie treated these topics with dignity and respect. They never used Connor’s suicide as his defining trait, which may be unclear at first, but throughout the movie we learn what kind of person Connor was. His suicide was never glorified by any of the characters, and we were instead shown the unfortunate reality of these situations. We see his family grieving in different ways, and how his death affected them, without glorifying it. It also shows how people will take advantage of situations like this for attention.

Like with Connor, the movie never treated Evan’s mental illness as his ‘personality’. He is portrayed as someone who has struggles like anyone else, but also with his own interests and characteristics. We also know that his mental illness influenced some of his actions throughout the movie, like his He is also influenced by his other struggles, like his strained relationship with his mother. He was basically taken in by Connor’s family, and he wanted that to continue because of that relationship with his mom, so he continued to lie to them. He wanted that familial relationship that he was lacking at home.

It’s movies like this that we should see more of. We need more stories of communities coming together, more representation of these issues, especially of mental illness and awareness for suicide. What I hope stories like this shows people, is that there’s more out there. There are so many people and resources who want to help you and are just waiting to be utilized. 


If you feel you need any kind of help, any counselor, and almost any trusted adult, in the school will help you to the best of their ability if you reach out. They can also point you in the direction of better resources and can bring you to a hospital if needed. The school is also working on the Hope Squad, which is a peer-to-peer support system of trained students from each grade. The school also requires ninth graders to be taught a full lesson, paired with a risk screening, about mental illness and S.O.S (signs of suicide), as well as booster lessons every year.

Local Crisis Lines:

715-392-8216 (Human Development Center Daytime Crisis Line)

715-395-2259 (HDC 24/7 Crisis Line)

715-394-9177 (HDC Project Reach Out (for Youth))

715-392-1955 (LSCHC Line)

888-826-0099 (Essentia Health Crisis Line)

National Crisis Lines:

800-273-8255 (Suicide Hotline)

‘HOME’ to 741741 (Crisis Text Line)

1-866-488-7386 (Trevor Project)

‘START’ to 678-678 (Trevor Project Text Line)

“Even when the dark comes crashing through, when you need a friend to carry you, and when you’re broken on the ground, you will be found,” from “You Will Be Found,” Dear Evan Hansen Original Motion Picture.