Dear Evan Hansen: The 10 Best Characters | ScreenRant

Despite earning mixed reviews from critics, the maudlin musical melodrama Dear Evan Hansen has proven to be a massive crowd-pleaser. The inspiring musical coming-of-age story traces the title character's (Ben Platt) arduous journey overcoming his crippling anxiety with the help of his classmates, many of which are just as positive and uplifting as he is. With the emotional support of his closest friends and family members, Evan is able to find a healing path and work his way toward the acceptance of a tragic event.

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With the film poised to open in theaters on Sept. 24, 2021, it's worth highlighting why such a touching human drama resonates so long among viewers: the characters.

Trigger warning: This article discusses suicide and suicidal feelings.

10 Gemma

Aside from the eight main characters in the film, all of which are given surnames to indicate their importance, the supporting characters in Dear Evan Hansen drop off quite dramatically. However, one side character who stands out more than most is Gemma (Liz Kate), a bubbly classmate of Zoe and her friends.

Once Evan and Alana create "The Connor Project" crowdfunding campaign, Gemma is there to help spearhead the charitable event with good intentions and an effervescent smile. Alas, she isn't privy to what Evan is up to, giving her an innocence aligned with that of Zoe.

9 Oliver

Like Gemma, Oliver (DeMarious Copes) is a schoolyard supporting character who radiates warmth and positivity in his assistance of "The Connor Project." As Zoe's close friend who helps her grieve following the loss of her brother, Oliver is a character that did not exist on the stage production and was created solely for the film.

As an accomplished Broadway performer who starred in tours of Hamilton, Mean Girls, Newsies, and more, Copes bolsters the musical aspect of the movie with his impressive song and dance skills.

8 Larry Mora

The surname change from Murphy in the stage play to Mora in the film indicates Larry's estranged nature as Cynthia's (Amy Adams) husband and Connor and Zoe's father. The overworked absentee father is never around to listen to Connor's problems, which leads to devastating consequences.

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Although he is distant and ineffective as a father, Larry is a necessary character who helps contextualize the larger picture of Connor's unhappiness, which only increases the tragic character's sympathetic nature.

7 Jared Kalwani

In addition to his sardonic sense of humor that adds much need levity to the film, Jared Kalwani (Nik Dodani) is Evan's closest and most caring confidant who gives sage advice and genuinely has Evan's best interests at heart. When Evan starts the Connor Project to keep the boy's memory alive, Jared is right there along with Alana (Amandla Stenberg) to help.

While Jared's unwavering loyalty leads him to help Evan create phony backdated emails to prove his friendship with Connor, he knows what they are doing is wrong. Voicing his moral concerns helps Evan lead to his own epiphany to do the right thing in the end.

6 Connor Murphy

Connor Murphy (Colton Ryan) is the important and hugely sympathetic teenager who incites the plot of the story. A social outcast without many friends, Connor kindly offers to sign Evan's arm cast. When Connor later sees a note Evan wrote to himself as part of his psychiatrist's advice, the mention of his sister Zoe (Kaitlyn Dever) sends him into a tailspin. Connor eventually dies by suicide.

Beyond the symbolic victimhood of bullying and the awareness that the character brings to such a rampant high school problem, Connor is meant to challenge Evan's emotional resolve and spark his moral awakening en route to underscoring the larger themes of honesty, acceptance, and philanthropy.

5 Cynthia Murphy

Amy Adams gives another nuanced turn as Cynthia Murphy, Connor and Zoe's stay-at-home mother doing all she can to keep her tenuous family whole. With Larry often out of the picture, the profound grief that losing a child brings to Cynthia is heartbreaking as can be, fostering unparalleled sympathy for her and her family.

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Cynthia is made even more piteous when Evan feigns friendship with her son Connor, making her ecstatic that her son had a friend before he took his own life. While devastated by Evan's ruse, Cynthia's goodness is reaffirmed when she decides not to expose Evan's deception.

4 Zoe Murphy

Zoe Murphy's has one of the trickiest character arcs to navigate in the coming-of-age film. After Connor dies, she forges a romance with Evan on the basis of the lies he's been spreading about her deceased brother. When she finds out, she understandably breaks up with Evan.

While Zoe adds to Evan's mounting anxiety and ultimately aids him to find the courage to confess his dishonesty, she also demonstrates what a big heart she has at the end by reconciling with Evan and taking him to one of Connor's favorite places in town. It's Zoe who ultimately makes Evan vow to never repeat his past mistakes in the future.

3 Heidi Hansen

As Evan's workaholic single mother, Heidi Hansen (Julianne Moore) is both a positive role model as well as a parent who is rarely around. When she isn't working as a nurse's assistant, Heidi attends a paralegal course at night, showing Evan what hard, honorable work looks like.

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However, Heidi's and her husband's absence also contributes to Evan's decreasing mental health and allows him to spend time perpetuating his elaborate lies. Still, after denying the gift of Connor's charity fund for Evan's college and a heartrending confrontation in which she apologizes for neglecting Evan, Heidi shows how pure of heart she really is.

2 Alana Beck

Although she can be a self-absorbed drama queen at times, Alana Beck is one of the most crucial characters in the film. When she isn't angling to boost her academic standing, Alana gets the bright idea to start "The Connor Project," a fundraising campaign meant to keep Connor's memory alive.

In addition to her big heart, Alana's intelligence allows her to spot discrepancies in Evan's phony emails, which weakens his house of cards and forces him to confront his own mendacity. Smart, compassionate, and an enterprising self-starter, Alana is a true friend Evan is lucky to have.

1 Evan Hansen

The complex moral bind Evan Hansen finds himself in makes him the most complicated and compelling character in the film. Evan creates his own angst-ridden conflict by doubling down on a lie and going to great lengths to prove the lie is true despite the harm it causes to those around him.

Yet, with the help of his friends and family, Evan has a profound ethical eye-opener by realizing what he is doing is wrong on multiple levels. He vows to atone for his sins and become a better person.

NEXT: 10 Perfectly Cast Coming-Of-Age Main Characters

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