Disclaimer: This article contains a discussion of mental health and suicide.
The hit Broadway movie Dear Evan Hansen‘The ending created some controversy and a wave of questions. Some have argued, for example, that the film’s message is toxic. Likewise, the character whose death triggers the events of the musical, Connor Murphy, can be seen as both a redeemable character or a villain. The film also tackles mental health topics, in a stronger way than other portrayals on screen. While this is a beloved musical, these are all valid arguments to make about a movie that divides.
This adaptation hit theaters in September, but even before its theatrical release, Dear Evan HansenThe controversial cast of Ben Platt made the news. While Platt premiered the lead role on Broadway in 2016, Platt was 27 during the filming of the movie and looked older. The other characters in high school are also played by actors in their twenties; However, Platt seemed a lot less believable as a teenager than his costars.
Dear Evan HansenThe story of is also quite controversial. There is a prevalent misconception that this is an LGBT + coming-of-age story, which is far from the truth. Despite being a popular musical, the plot of the film is very dark. Evan suffers from social anxiety disorder and has only one “friend“, with whom he’s not even particularly close. At first, it seems that Evan and another outcast, Connor Murphy, may become friends; however, Connor becomes fiercely angry with Evan and later commits suicide. Connor’s family falsely assume that a letter Evan wrote to himself on a therapeutic assignment was actually a farewell letter from their son to a friend they didn’t know he had. Instead of correcting them, Evan lies and keeps lying until he loses control of the truth. part of the film let the audience speak, and not in a good way. Here is the end of Dear Evan Hansen explained and all the questions it raises.
Is Dear Evan Hansen’s Message Toxic?
Dear Evan Hansen has very mixed reviews due to its unusual storyline surrounding the protagonist. In a more cliché movie, Evan would use the death of someone he might have known to come out of his shell and solve his mental health issues. Instead, Evan begins to lie out of kindness, which isn’t necessarily wrong. He wants to comfort his classmate’s family by letting them think their son really did have a friend in their time of mourning. The problem, however, is how quickly and needlessly Evan’s lies grew, and how Evan even seemed to believe them as he became addicted to feeling like he was the center of attention. At one point, Evan goes viral with a speech he gives in commemoration of his “friend“trying to raise money for an apple orchard in his honor. The speech inspires so many people but it is all lies and manipulation.
Inevitably, his lies eventually become excessive and Evan confesses to Connor’s family. At this point, he has exploited them heavily. He started dating Connor’s sister Zoe (Kaitlyn Dever) after they got closer on a false premise, was offered money to go to college and that he essentially made himself their surrogate son. While a situation can certainly snowball, Evan allows it to escalate beyond a simple lie to manipulate the situation to his advantage. Worse, he doesn’t really face any sort of punishment by Dear Evan Hansen‘to send. He confesses on social media, although it doesn’t seem to be as viral as the twisted letter in the first place. In Dear Evan HansenOf all the characters in, no one seems to care that his inspirational speech was all lies, and he is never held accountable for his truly wrongdoing.
The final scene further establishes the problematic fact that not only does Evan suffer no consequences from his actions, but he continues to benefit from them. At the end of Dear Evan Hansen, Zoe meets him at the orchard, claiming that she wanted Evan to actually see this place because his brother really loved him. There are so many layers at this time. First, there is no evidence in the film that Connor had any significant feelings for the place outside of a happy childhood memory. On top of that, Zoe’s tone and the framing of the scene imply that she congratulates Evan on the good job he has done on behalf of his brother and that she has completely glossed over the damage Evan has done. caused to his family. The end of the movie treats Evan like a hero when he’s actually a much more complex and often toxic person.
Is Connor Murphy redeemable or a villain?
Connor Murphy’s death and sanity are the centerpieces of the film’s plot. At the beginning of Dear Evan Hansen, the story makes Connor a villain. He has no friends and lashes out at Evan, who is terrorized by his own anxiety disorder. Although details are never given, Connor’s family do comment on his many stays in rehab and the programs he has gone through. The audience sees fist-sized holes in the walls of their bedroom. Zoe claims her family were so concerned about trying to help her brother that they felt left behind. Obviously, Connor Murphy was tough on those he loved, but it was also the setting up that he himself struggled with with life.
This is revealed through the moments of humanity and kindness shown to Connor, even during his brief stint on screen. For example, he’s the only one to sign Evan’s cast as he recognizes another outcast and it’s a moment that really makes it feel like the two of them maybe could’ve been friends. Likewise, Connor’s family remembers the happier days of his childhood, before depression and anger took hold. Later in the movie, a recovering friend sends a video of Connor’s wonderful guitar playing. Of course, there are also some great times of joy and laughter with Connor and Evan on go-karts, climbing trees, and emailing – but it’s all made up.
If Connor is redeemed, it is not himself who does it but rather his memory. Despite all of his faults, Evan manages to remind his family of the best times they had with their son. The film also allows Connor to be a fully realized human. He never explains his reasons for harming himself or bullying others beyond the death of his biological father, but it does allow him to be painted in a much more sympathetic light. Connor is neither good nor bad; rather, it is a child grappling with important problems without the necessary tools to necessarily deal with them in a healthy way. He is a person haunted by the death of his father and the unfortunate circumstances he had to live with. The film takes him from antagonist to complex character and leaves it there.
What dear Evan Hansen says about mental health
While Dear Evan Hansen may feel toxic in the way his protagonist is allowed to behave, one thing that suits him is sanity. The film does not show graphic self-harm or idealize it in any way. In fact, the film’s message around mental health is important: many people suffer in silence. While Connor can’t tell his story to the audience, other characters do tell theirs.
Evan suffers from social anxiety disorder. He is shown to need therapy and medication, while also feeling very lonely. The film later unpacks what he went through when he admits to his mother that he did not break his arm in an accidental fall from a large tree; instead, he voluntarily let go. Someone who sees this silent suffering is Alana Beck (Amandla Stenberg). Alana seems to be the ideal student, leading several groups and having a large number of friends. However, she admits to Evan that she, too, needs medication to deal with her mental health issues.
Finally, there is the Murphy family itself. Each member cries in their own way despite the loss of the same person. The film does a great job of showing how anyone can experience mental health issues, whether clinical or situational, as well as trauma and grief, and that they can manifest themselves differently for each person.
What is dear Evan Hansen really talking about?
Director Stephan Chbosky, when asked what Dear Evan Hansen really means, said, “The thing is, it’s like the song says: you’re not alone. It is that simple.“This intended message is crisp and clear. Taking away everything else, at the start of Dear Evan Hansen, Evan is deeply alone. He has no one to talk to about his battles. Slowly, however, he realizes that others are suffering in silence by his side. They are all human. They all face grief, loss, loneliness and their own struggles. Her own mother admits that she has known for years how inadequate she is – and yet she, too, is not alone. The film is hopeful and tries to open a conversation about what everyone is going through in silence. Despite all his faults, he succeeds.
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