Dear Evan Hansen,

That was a lot, but a lot does not equal a negative.
As the years go on, more and more stories are being told that actually portray the full spectrum of the human condition. It’s not easy being a human being. In fact, it’s downright stressful. Especially in our own minds. However, between the cracks of all the dark stressful periods are a rainbow of moments that make life worth it. And that, my friend, is where Dear Evan Hansen shines.

Put aside everything you’ve heard about this film. Who cares how old Ben Platt is today? Do you know how old Jeff Conaway was when he played Kenickie in Grease? 27! How about Stockard Channing who played Rizzo? She was 33. 
The only thing you need to know about Ben Platt is how wonderful his portrayal of Evan Hansen truly was. Platt knows this character better than anyone and he should after several years of playing the part on and off Broadway. His performance is so emotionally rich it’s often uncomfortable to sit through. In fact, it might actually be too hard to sit through if it wasn’t for the spectacular job of his supporting cast. Kaitlyn Dever being the most pleasant surprise of them all in her role as Zoe Murphy.

Evan Hansen (Ben Platt) and Jared Kalwani (Nik Dodani) in Dear Evan Hansen, directed by Stephen Chbosky.

That’s not why I’m writing you this letter though. You see, tackling mental health issues like anxiety and depression is no easy picnic. It’s too often shown in a stereotypical format where those struggling have clearly lost their wits, or are dismissed for being different. Not here. Dear Evan Hansen highlights that anyone and everyone deals with mental health. Sometimes through a rather unnecessary song (i.e. The Anonymous Ones), but most often through smaller gestures, mannerisms and words. 
I’m not saying Dear Evan Hansen in the perfect poster child for mental health, or even the cinematic hit of the year. No, no, it’s far from that. However, it is an important step in normalizing the mental health conversation. It also brings an incredible sense of belonging to viewers dealing with their own mental health in “You Will Be Found.” 

Ben Blatt and Julianne Moore

So, Evan, applause is in order. During a time period where people have felt more alone and more isolated than ever before, you delivered a message of universal connection and that is a type of currency we could all use a little more of. 



P.S. Next time a little warning to bring some tissues would be nice.

For more on movie news and reviews, make sure to check back to That Hashtag Show.