It turns out this wasn’t an amazing movie after all. This isn’t going to be an acting tour-de-force or a masterpiece for cinema because why would it be?
I know this because you’re played by Ben Platt, and all our hopes are pinned on Ben Platt, a 27-year-old who looks 35 but overly doused with the same de-aging technology from “The Irishman.” You better count your blessings that the Golden Globes are canceled this year, because if you thought Film Twitter was angry at James Corden’s nom for “The Prom,” then you can’t appreciate this dodging of the social media equivalent to the Book of Revelation. But hey, as far as I’m concerned, you’ve given permission to Kristen Chenoweth and Idina Menzel to reprise their roles in “Wicked” because anyone can play a teenager.
Maybe if you could just see that Platt shouldn’t have played you, no matter how good of a voice he has, maybe nothing would be changed at all because the premise of the original production is so deeply offensive, shrouded in a lesson that seems to say, “if you kill yourself, a curly-haired, anxious man-child will be way too awkward and nervous to say to a grieving family that their drug-addicted son, who his sister hated, didn’t write you a suicide note.” Unfortunately, all of writer Steven Levenson’s best qualities as a scribe can’t elevate such a premise, and the writer’s branch won’t think so either.
The truth is, when I was watching this in the darkened Directors Guild of America Theater, it took about 10 minutes to realize what I thought about you didn’t matter. By the end of “Waving Through the Window,” half the audience was clapping. A woman sitting across from me was audibly sobbing during multiple moments, and got so overwhelmed at one point that she lay her head on her companion’s shoulder. This happened just minutes before she turned the flashlight on her phone and couldn’t figure out how to turn it off. I wish everything was different.
I wish I was part of something. I wish that anything I said mattered to anyone, especially to Oscar voters. I mean, let’s face it, we’ve seen AMPAS go all-in on “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Driving Miss Daisy” and somehow determine that “How Green Was My Valley” was better than “Citizen Kane” or “Dances With Wolves” was superior to “Goodfellas.” That’s all to say the film could still become a box-office smash and pick up noms for sound and original song (“The Anonymous Ones” penned by Amandla Stenberg). No matter how much critics flay this film, no matter how low a score you get on Rotten Tomatoes, no matter how many people make memes of your horrible wig (it’s not?), the response in that room was palpable. I learned valuable lessons: there’s never a bad time for you and your mother, played by Julianne Moore, to scream a musical note without any ability to turn down the volume. If your fake friend Connor kills himself, I too can have his mother, played by Amy Adams, put a tie on me while I’m wearing a polo shirt, and she’ll definitely call me handsome. And finally, if I surround myself with two friends (played by Stenberg and Nik Dodani), and have them name the medications they’re on; and use buzzwords that Gen Z kids will like, I can have an ending devoid of any consequences in which a recording of Connor singing a song in rehab can right all wrongs.
Would anyone notice if you just disappeared tomorrow? Despite director Stephen Chbosky helming the masterful “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” and an excellent adaptation of “Wonder,” not even he could achieve an ending that would be as satisfying as seeing this show cast to artistic voids.
Like I said, none of this letter matters. Enjoy your success.
Your most, best and dearest pundit,