The Toronto International Film Festival marked a touching personal comeback on Thursday evening, with the opening night titled “Dear Evan Hansen”.
Before the single-frame performance of Cathartic Tearjacker starring Ben Platt, festival co-chairs Cameron Bailey and Joanna Vicente dominated the room at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto. Usually packed in gills during pre-covid, the auditorium was barely 50% of the capacity for social distance measures in terms of the ongoing epidemic.
Bailey and Vicente speak of the resilience and gratitude for the return of the industry and the public together at TIFF. An official from the Canadian Film Commission followed, insisting that “Dear Evan Hansen” was a perfect film to welcome viewers after an all-virtual version in 2020 because of its simple message: “You are not alone.”
Toronto Mayor John Tory then surprised the public with an off-the-cuff speech, almost passing at one point, saying, “It’s the largest city in the world and we’re stronger than ever.”
So, yes, the house was ready to laugh and cry next to each other in the dark.
Platt’s supporting cast began the film with Amanda Steinberg, Julianne Moore, Danny Pino, Colton Ryan and Nick Dodani. Standing next to musician and adaptive screenwriter Steven Levenson, director Stephen Chobsky said, “As far as I’m concerned, you’re here on the opening night of cinema in North America.” The stars appeared through Amy Adams and Caitlin Dever Zoom.
A Tony-winning musical, Universal’s “Favorite Evan Hansen” follows a lonely and restless teenager who falls into the tragic family life after merging with a letter writer. As he gains the trust and affection of his new fans, a barrier around his lies grows as he loses touch with his old life.
The audience members generously hugged each other and wiped their eyes during the dramatic numbers, and shared glances and smiles at the same time. This response can be an advertisement for the movie running experience in general. After the credit roll and the actors and filmmakers came on stage for the Q&A, Platt received a standing ovation.
Platt said of the title’s introduction, “I am who he is so covered.”
Moore admits he didn’t sing out loud “since I did‘ The Music Man ’in high school’, but found strength in contrast to “this beautiful performance by Ben.”
Choboski probably best described this when asked why he was attracted to the story of growing up (as in his previous works, such as “The Parks of Being a Wallflower” and “Wonder”).
“We are surviving the tragedy we have faced in our family over the past year. We are here. The movie is rocking, ”he said.
This is Chobsky’s first musical tackle, although he has adapted the screenplay for the filmed version of “Rent” and the Disney Live Action version of “Beauty and the Beast”. Benz Pasek and Justin Paul, professionally billed as Pasek and Paul, have written music and lyrics.
In an interview with Diversity Published Thursday, Chobsky details his determination that singing in movies is live and urgent.
“To me, singing live was the basis of this particular movie. I had an innate tendency that as much as we can be about music, the dialogues and the lyrics are almost indistinguishable from how we reach them, the melody will be more grounded and real. We are dealing with real grief b, real emotion; There’s really no imagination, ”he said.