DEAR EVAN HANSEN versus WORLD'S GREATEST DAD (Major Spoilers Regarding the Film)
Last Edit: BroadwayTonyJ 09:53 am EDT 06/15/19
Posted by: BroadwayTonyJ 09:52 am EDT 06/15/19

Watched World's Greatest Dad yesterday, an '09 film I had never heard of until it was mentioned on ATC a few weeks ago. There are some similarities to Evan Hansen, but also some differences. In Dad, Kyle is a very troubled, misanthropic, 15-year old teen, who is disliked by his fellow high schoolers and even by his father -- much like Conner. However, Kyle has a best friend Andrew, who is shy, socially awkward, and troubled (much like Evan).

Unlike Conner, Kyle accidentally dies while masturbating (a victim of autoerotic asphyxiation). His father Lance, who teaches English at Kyle's school, discovers the body, makes it look like suicide, pens a fake suicide note, and sticks the note in Kyle's pocket to avoid embarrassment with the police. The note is eventually posted on social media by a student who finds it in the police report.

The rest of the film is much like Hansen in that the students who disliked Kyle are so moved by the suicide note that they now wish to memorialize him. Lance continues the deception when another troubled student tells him the power of the suicide note convinced him not to take his own life. To continue the deception (and fulfill his own aspiration to be an appreciated writer), Lance then authors a phony journal and passes it off as Kyle's. Events begin to snowball making Lance a celebrity. Eventually, though, he confesses the deception and accepts the consequences.

The film is excellent. Robin Williams as Lance gives one of the best performances of his career. Unlike Evan Hansen, the tone of the film is very darkly comedic, even Kyle's unfortunate death is intended to be comic. Williams, however, brings a powerful, touching pathos to his character. Shockingly, the film cost $10 million to make but grossed less than $300 thousand at the box office.

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