Review Round Up: Dear Evan Hansen (film)

We round up the reviews for the film adaptation of the hit Broadway musical which arrives in UK cinemas on the 22nd October.

The Guardian: ** ” you could spend almost the entirety of the film wondering not just when Evan is going to be unmasked and disgraced, but also the culpable Jared. That’s something the plot skates around. In the end, this film suffocates you with ersatz compassion and personal growth.”

Digital Spy: ** “It could well be that Dear Evan Hansen is a musical that was never destined to work on screen, although this version never really gave it a chance. Despite a strong cast and terrific songs, it’s too sincere and low-key for its own good which only ends up highlighting its missteps.”

The Upcoming: *** “Dear Evan Hansen was made for the theatre and maybe that is still its ideal home. The sentimental ballads simply work better on stage, where the audience is more predisposed to hearing them performed live. Notwithstanding, the transition to cinema works rather well and the film keeps the audience captivated. Although it’s too long and overly melodramatic at times, the story poses many interesting questions about human behaviour and raises awareness of mental health issues in an approachable manner.” * “It’s an emotionally manipulative, overlong dirge composed of cloying songs, lackluster vocal performances, and even worse writing.”

Entertainment Weekly: “As Evan’s mom, the ever-reliable Julianne Moore delivers one of the film’s few poignant moments in a musical number late in the film. Dever, too, finds some crumb of insight in Zoe’s ambivalence about her brother’s death; of the whole cast, the Booksmart actress gets the closest to pulling off a credible character in this hyper-engineered world of tragedy exploited and truth forsaken — and of songs. The songs work.”

The “Even with actors like Adams and Julianne Moore along to add gravitas, you wouldn’t call “Dear Evan Hansen” understated for most of its running time; it’s a musical, after all, where people who are tongue-tied when they try to speak can burst into song and become as eloquent as they are melodic. But even if you go in with reservations, even if you don’t succumb to its most extravagant moments, it sneaks up on you. Go ahead, smile or ache or shed a tear – you are not alone.”

WhatsOnStage: *** “It’s worth stressing that Steven Levenson, book writer and returning here to pen the screenplay, doesn’t phone it in by any means – using the transition to the screen to re-work the ending in a relatively successful way and flesh out a variety of side characters – especially Connor, who no longer feels like an inert fulcrum for the plot. Though conceptually flawed conclusion, perhaps, the new ending does give emerging star Colton Ryan (Murphy) the chance to showcase some wonderful vocals.”

Empire: *** ” Stephen Chbosky’s adaptation tackles these ideas with sensitivity through a clutch of great tunes, by turns funny and touching, but emerges too dramatically inert to truly satisfy.”

Variety: “The team behind the film haven’t necessarily fixed all that was wrong with the show, but they’ve been listening, at least, and that’s a start.”

Dear Evan Hansen is released in UK cinemas on the 22nd October.

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