Dear Evan Hansen is Hollywood’s newest entry on the road to reviving the musical genre. The Broadway musical by musicians and lyricist Benj Pasek and Justin Paul is now coming to the big screen via Universal to see if it can capitalize on general audience approval. Hollywood is hellbent on reviving the musical genre and with this as it’s newest entry.

So how does the film, which opened the Toronto Film Festival on Thursday night, stack up against the stage adaptation? Well, it stands somewhere in between Rob Marshall’s Chicago (a very good film adaptation of a Broadway play), and Rob Marshall’s Into the Woods (a very bad film adaptation of a Broadway play). Dear Evan Hansen works well enough to be enjoyable, and ends right before it begins to wear out its welcome.

Ben Platt stars as Evan Hansen. A frail looking bit so young looking high school student who considers himself invisible to all. He’s not popular, he’s not attractive to girls, not even other nerds want to be around him. The only confidant he has is Jared Kalwani, who considers Evan to be nothing more than an Acquaintance. A golden opportunity for change comes when he crosses paths with Connor Murphy, an emo-type youngster who scares his classmates with his angst, and the brother of Evan’s crush Zoe. Evan walks around school with a cast and Connor offers to sign it. After signing, Connor finds a class assignment address to Evan and he runs off with it. 

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The assignment is found by Connor’s parents Cynthia and Larry after he suddenly. The duo want to meet Evan because they think he was their son’s only friend due to what was said in the note, and seeing Connor’s name written on his cast. Instead of coming clean that they just found a homework assignment that he wrote and addressed to himself, Hansen fabricates an entire history between him and their son that never existed. This allows him to create the fantasy life he’s always wanted, and get close to Zoe.

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