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Stephen Chbosky
Ben Platt, Kaitlyn Dever, Julianne Moore
Writing Credits:
Steven Levenson

Socially anxious teen Evan Hansen finds his life changed due to a connection with a peer who commits suicide.

Box Office:
$27 million.
Opening Weekend:
$7,443,830 on 3364 Screens.
Domestic Gross:

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English Dolby Atmos
Spanish Dolby 7.1
French Dolby 5.1
English DVS
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 137 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 12/7/2021

• “Songs to Be Seen” Featurettes
• “Looking Through the Lens” Featurette
• “Sincerely, Ben Platt” Featurette
• “Stars In Our Eyes” Featurette
• Previews
• DVD Copy


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Dear Evan Hansen [Blu-Ray] (2021)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 5, 2021)

In 2015, a new stage musical called Dear Evan Hansen debuted. It eventually nabbed major Tony and Grammy awards.

In 2021, Hansen leapt to the big screen. A critical and commercial failure, I don’t see much – if any - Oscar love in its future.

High school senior Evan Hansen (Ben Platt) suffers from social anxiety. His therapist encourages him to write positive letters to himself, but that practice takes a turn after Evan breaks his arm.

When his mother Heidi (Julianne Moore) recommends he ask classmates to sign his cast as a way to break the ice, Evan remains nervous. He pens another self-letter that expresses doubts anyone would notice/care if he disappeared.

After mentally unstable classmate Connor Murphy (Colton Ryan) discovers this note, he reacts angrily, as he believes Evan wrote it to antagonize him via its mentions of Zoë Murphy (Kaitlyn Dever), Connor’s sister – and Evan’s secret crush. Matters take a turn when Connor commits suicide three days later.

The Murphy family finds the letter and thinks Connor intended it for Evan. Though Evan attempts to come clean, his statements become misinterpreted, and this leads him on an unexpected personal path.

As mentioned earlier, this cinematic Hansen flopped, and Platt’s presence as the lead turned into the subject of public derision. Platt earned a Tony for his work on stage as Evan, but his age became the focal point of criticism in the film version.

27 during the production, Hansen asks Platt to play a character 10 years younger. Throughout film and TV history, plenty of much too old actors have portrayed high schoolers, and we can find examples of age differences more egregious than Platt’s 10 years.

Nonetheless, Platt’s age becomes a major distraction here, largely because he looks older than even his actual age. Platt plays as 27 going on 40, and the production’s desperate attempts to coat him in “age reducing” makeup just accentuate his inability to resemble a teenager even more.

To be fair, Platt wasn’t that much older during the shoot than some of his costars. Dever was 24 and Ryan was 25, for instance.

However, those two manage to “play young” better than Platt. He looks more like he should portray the middle-aged lead in Death of a Salesman than a kid about to head off to college.

If we ignore how poorly Platt resembles a teen, can we find actual pleasures from Hansen? Not really, though the film doesn’t become the cinematic catastrophe its weak reviews imply.

On the positive side, Hansen includes a mix of pretty catchy songs. I can’t claim that I’ll want to buy the soundtrack, but the tunes seem engaging enough.

That said, I do feel that Hansen goes overboard in terms of big songs. Not that it presents large production numbers – indeed, it usually eschews those – but it comes across like a large percentage of the tracks want to function as climactic showstoppers.

This seems like overkill. When every song acts as a Big Deal, it means none of them achieve that status, as the numbers’ emotional impact blends into the background.

Hansen also involves a pretty terrific cast. With folks like Moore, Dever, Amy Adams and Amandla Stenberg in tow, the actors ensure a high level of professionalism.

And then there’s Platt. I hate to continually harp on the guy, but although he continues to sing the songs well, he doesn’t transition to the movie screen in a successful manner – and not because of the age issue I already mentioned.

Though Platt enjoys ample experience as a TV/film actor, he fails to modulate his performance for the movie. Platt plays Evan in a big, theatrical manner that makes sense for the stage but not for the big screen.

Also, in a potential attempt to overcome his “advanced age”, Platt tends to portray Evan as 17 going on 10. Platt doesn’t appear to understand how an actual 17-year-old would behave, so instead, he creates a “generic kid” and hopes this will work.

Deep down, Hansen comes with promise. Its premise seems intriguing, and the story could work well.

However, as realized, the movie version of Hansen just suffers from too many self-inflicted wounds. While this never becomes a terrible film, it seems too flawed to achieve real success.

The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B+/ Bonus C-

Dear Evan Hansen appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became an appealing presentation.

Overall definition looked positive. Softness never became a problem, as the film appeared consistently well-defined.

No issues with moiré effects or jaggies materialized, and I witnessed no signs of edge haloes or source flaws.

Expect a distinct slant toward amber/teal, so the movie went with subdued tones. Reds popped up at times to add a little flair to the proceedings as well. Though not memorable, the disc reproduced the hues as intended.

Blacks seemed dark and dense, while low-light shots offered good smoothness and clarity. Ultimately, the image came across as pretty terrific.

In addition, the movie’s Dolby Atmos soundtrack suited the material. Downconverted to Dolby TrueHD 7.1, music dominated the proceedings, and the many songs used the various channels in an involving manner.

Effects had less to do, as they focused mainly on ambience. Given the emphasis on music, that was fine, and the sides/surrounds provided enough material to succeed.

Audio quality also pleased. Again, music became the most dominant aspect of the mix, and the songs/score boasted fine range and impact.

Speech came across as natural and concise, whereas effects seemed accurate and realistic. Nothing here dazzled, but the track worked for the movie.

Some featurettes show up, and Songs to Be Seen runs a total of 43 minutes, 17 seconds as it examines 11 of the movie’s tunes. Across these clips, we hear from executive music producer Alex Lacamoire, director Stephen Chbosky, choreographer Jamaica Craft, and actors Ben Platt, Amy Adams, Daniel Pino, Nik Dodani, Colton Ryan, Kaitlyn Dever, Amandla Stenberg, Liz Kate, DeMarius Copes and Julianne Moore.

Here we learn a bit about the film’s musical numbers – but not a whole lot. While we get a few decent details, much of “Seen” just provides gushing praise about the tracks and performances, so it lacks much informational value.

Looking Through the Lens spans eight minutes, 36 seconds and involves Chbosky, Platt, Ryan, Dever, Stenberg, Moore, Adams, Craft, production designer Beth Mickle, costume designer Sekinah Brown, co-composer Dan Romer and vocal supervisor Ben Cohn.

“Lens” offers some basics about the cast and the production. Like “Seen”, it tends more toward fluff than substance.

With Sincerely, Ben Platt we get a four-minute, 57-second reel that offers comments from Platt, Lacamoire, Ryan, Adams, Chbosky, Dever and Stenberg,

Unsurprisingly, “Sincerely” looks at Platt and his performance. Unsurprisingly, this amounts to lots of praise and not much more.

Finally, Stars In Our Eyes goes for three minutes, six seconds and brings info from Platt, Dever, Adams, Dodani, Ryan, Mickle, Brown, Moore, Copes,

“Eyes” discusses shooting in the age of COVID. Inevitably, it offers more happy talk.

The disc opens with ads for Respect and Roadrunner. No trailer for Hansen appears here.

A second disc presents a DVD copy of Hansen. It provides “Lens”, “Sincerely” and five of the 11 clips from “Seen”.

An adaptation of a massively successful Broadway show, Dear Evan Hansen fails to make a good transition to the movie screen. While some aspects of the film work fine, too much of it falters, with the main issue the use of a much too old actor as the ‘teen’ lead. The Blu-ray offers very good picture and audio but bonus materials feel superficial. Maybe this production works on stage, but it doesn’t give us an appealing film.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
0 3:
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