Dear Evan Hansen,
It turns out this wasn’t an amazing day after all. This isn’t going to be an amazing week or an amazing year. Because, why would it be?
Oh I know. Because I saw your movie. A movie you thought would be as good as La La Land or even The Greatest Showman, given that Justin Paul and Benji Pasek also wrote the songs for those movies. A movie that you thought would be as good at showing audiences what it was like to be an awkward teenager given that it was directed by the same person who made The Perks Of Being A Wallflower. Sadly we both know that your movie is not any of these things.
I wish that everything were different. I wish that Marc Platt had resisted the temptation to case his own son in the lead role. I appreciate that Ben Platt won the Tony Award for his performance in the original musical… back in 2017 when he was already 23. However this isn’t Grease. At least in that film, ALL the teenagers were played by people in the 30s… and possibly 40s. Here having someone who clearly looks in their late twenties hanging out with people in their early twenties seems visually distracting and also slightly creepy. I know there is something called “suspension of disbelief” however every time Ben appeared on screen, his performance resembled that of Vincent D’Onforio in Men In Black. Like a bug in a human skin suit trying to pass himself off as an awkward teenager.
I wish that every single musical number with the exception of Reinvention didn’t feel like a depressing, dour affair. I know it isn’t the most uplifting or joyful story but there was no life to any of the songs. All of them seemed to be sung by people sitting sadly around tables or on the sofa. I wish the only exposure to the music from the musical was not a parody of You Will be Found from the Tony Awards that was performed by *checks notes* Kevin Spacey.
Unfortunately there are some things you cannot come back from. We both know you never meant for what happened to happen but there is no excuse for what you did. Sure we have all been there. Who hasn’t told a white lie to make someone feel better? I know that in films like She’s All That or 10 Things I Hate About You, people are deceived and their feelings get hurt once the truth is revealed. However in those films it is just a case of young love. Yes, it might seem like the world was ending at the time but they get over it soon enough. What you did was unforgivable. I know that you have your own issues with depression and anxiety but your behaviour came across as sociopathic. To emotionally abuse, manipulate and exploit your way into a grieving family through tragedy for your own gain (whether that be financial or romantic) is despicable.
Some of the people you hurt might be able to forgive you but not me. I cannot forgive you for inflicting the worst movie musical since Cats upon us. For singing you were “on the outside looking in” whilst being on the inside of a window looking out. For being such a terrible, unsympathetic, unempathetic lead character. For reminding us that there are limits to how far the imagination can stretch when it comes to casting people on the big screen. For trying to say something about teen suicide and mental health but ending up doing more harm than good.
If there is some note of positivity that I can leave you with, it is this. At least you were one Hollywood musical adaptation that did not cast James Corden so maybe there is hope for you yet.
Sincerely, your best and most dearest friend.
Dear Evan Hansen is in cinemas from October 22nd.
Director: Stephen Chbosky
Stars: Ben Platt, Kaitlyn Dever, Amy Adams, Julianne Moore
Runtime: 137 minutes