In a word: So-So
This story could have been a great film, because it focuses on the trials and tribulations that young teens and some adults as well, struggle with while trying to be accepted by others. Or, they find a deep, dark hole somewhere because they simply cannot connect with desired friends. Often, such victims are prescribed mood and psyche medication for symptoms, as does the main character in this film.
Evan Hansen, the main character, is an anxious, isolated high-school student who aches for understanding by others. Rather, belongs amid the chaos and cruelty of the social media age of which he does not welcome. He soon embarks on a journey of self-discovery when a letter he wrote for a special exercise falls into the hands of a grieving couple whose son had taken this own life.
The story becomes more complex when two factors merge, lest I say clash, one about a struggling, unwanted teen (played deftly by Ben Platt) and two merging families which include Class A actors, Amy Adams and Julianne Moore.
That’s where the movie slows like crashing into a wall, making time for thirteen songs, not only sung intermittently by Platt, but also by other actors. That might have worked well on a Broadway stage production, but not so much in a movie. After we were forced to listen at the sixth, seventh or eighth song, I was ready to walk out.
It was only after doing more research, that I learned the show had been an award-winning musical at various venues through the country since 2015.
Had the music been melodic and pure, it may have made a difference, but in fact, most of the songs were repetitious and not very melodic. That’s an opinion by a lifelong violinist who I know.
Found in Wikipedia’s summary:
“The film’s handling of its source material, particularly how the Broadway version’s stagey aspects mixed in with the movie format, was generally not well-received. Few critics felt the transition from stage-to-screen was successful.”
But the basic story is worth telling. I hope, in five or ten years, that Hollywood would remake the movie and stick to a script only, because the purpose of the film is important and not well-adapted to the combination of drama and repetitive song productions.
I give this movie a 5.0 out of 10.