Dear Evan Hansen has been a huge hit musical on Broadway since it arrived to the New York stage in 2016 and went on to become a Tony-winning production, including receiving the Best Musical accolade. Last weekend, the coming-of-age story’s movie adaptation hit theaters, and fans of Dear Evan Hansen, along with movie fans who’d never watched it on stage, had the chance to see it on the big screen. So now we answer, how did the movie play with audiences?
Dear Evan Hansen follows the eponymous socially anxious teenager (played by Ben Platt), who is asked to write letters to himself by his therapist. When one of his classmates, Connor, dies by suicide, Evan Hansen becomes unexpectedly connected to him when his parents come to believe that one of Evan’s letters was a suicide note by Connor.
Critics did not connect with Dear Evan Hansen overall, with many reviewers pointing to “glaring problems” in Stephen Chobsky’s movie and the musical itself. CinemaBlend’s own Corey Chichizola gave the movie a positive review, saying that the movie actually “improves' on the original musical in his 3.5 out of 5 star review. Although Dear Evan Hansen seems to be a decisive movie among audiences, it did receive an impressive A- Cinemascore. So from a moviegoer’s perspective, it was well worth the watch in contrast.
Let’s get into the big internet discussions among fans about Dear Evan Hansen. First off, many had a bone to pick about the Dear Evan Hansen movie adaptation.
A Lot Of People Had Problems With The Musical Adaptation
Movie musicals are often subjected to more scrutiny than the usual adaptations because Broadway fans really know their stuff and truly love the productions they love. In terms of Dear Evan Hansen, a lot of fans are finding joy in making fun of the movie version, with tweets like this:
all you need to know about the dear evan hansen movie is that he sings “on the outside always looking in” and then they show a shot of him on the inside looking out pic.twitter.com/CFwfaB0JweSeptember 25, 2021
Dear Evan Hansen is not your typical movie musical because it takes place in a very palpable place of the present day rather than being based in a fairytale or olden times. It stars Ben Platt, who made the role of Evan Hansen famous on stage, but is currently a decade older than a high school student (we’ll get to that later). It seems like the movie was not impressing even some musical fans:
as a person who loves musicals, dear evan hansen makes me understand why people hate themSeptember 26, 2021
Not every musical is going to hit the same! One Broadway fan went as far as to call the movie worse than 2019’s Cats, which is an absolutely savage comment if you’ve read the peculiar buzz around that movie.
I'm...speechless. There is so much to talk about. Way more than I could cover in a quickie review. But make no mistake, Dear Evan Hansen is the single worst musical movie I have ever seen in my life. You all owe CATS an apology. pic.twitter.com/juAHtRdcjTSeptember 24, 2021
There were plenty of well-reasoned negative reviews about Dear Evan Hansen to add to the conversation. The movie deals with the subject of teen suicide and mental health, and that makes it an especially complex subject to set to the screen. Many have characterized it as “flawed,” especially in terms of its lead character, Evan Hansen:
#DearEvanHansen is very flawed. Evan is one of the most unlikeable characters, although Ben Platt does well with it. Kaitlyn Dever is great, but there’s just a lot of bad going on overall. Honestly it’s a pretty uncomfortable watch and waaaaay too long pic.twitter.com/gJIOzhR2LuSeptember 22, 2021
Evan Hansen going along with a lie relating to someone’s suicide was not swallowed easily by a lot of audiences. Here’s another disappointed fan:
It is so difficult to get behind certain character motivations in #DearEvanHansen. The intentions are there, and the core message is important, but the story itself is flawed. I normally love Chbosky’s work, but this film couldn’t quite come together. pic.twitter.com/fOZxBHOapKSeptember 22, 2021
Along with the story itself, Ben Platt as the lead also bothered some people. We’ll head to that conversation next.
The Reactions Were Harsh About Ben Platt's Age
Ever since the Dear Evan Hansen movie was announced, and especially when the movie’s first trailer came out, a 28-year-old Ben Platt playing a high school student has become somewhat of a meme for the movie. Seriously, people on the internet can’t get enough of making fun of him:
so you're telling me this isn't a woman visiting her father in a home?#dearevanhansen pic.twitter.com/saq0V0dtUaSeptember 24, 2021
That one is a tad extreme, but a lot of it may have to do with some of the hairstyling and wardrobe decisions as well for Ben Platt. Additionally, Platt was paired with younger actors playing his classmates, in turn making him being older more obvious. Some of his co-stars, include 22-year-old Amandla Stenberg and 24-year-old Kaitlyn Dever, are honestly not that much younger, but Platt having played a college freshman in Pitch Perfect almost ten years ago doesn’t help.
ben platt really killed it in dear evan hansen pic.twitter.com/wKDB82HUy8September 26, 2021
The Steve Buscemi “How do you do, fellow kids?” meme from 30 Rock has also been prevalent when people talk about Ben Platt in Dear Evan Hansen. Additionally, people are having fun making other comparisons at the expense of the Tony-winner.
Dear Evan Hansen! So good pic.twitter.com/9PwoHqghTfSeptember 26, 2021
You could make the argument that no one knows the character quite like Ben Platt, considering at one point in time he played the character eight times a week. On the other hand, perhaps it was time for the role to be passed on to a younger actor. It’s a contentious topic, but not everyone was turned off by Platt in the role:
Ben Platt as Evan Hansen is sheer magic, and how dare any of you say otherwise. #DearEvanHansen pic.twitter.com/6qDmDq5YRISeptember 26, 2021
It goes to show that between some heavily negative comments about Dear Evan Hansen, the movie also had plenty of fans too. Let’s close out with those.
Dear Evan Hansen Struck A Meaningful Chord With Many
Nitpicks aside, Dear Evan Hansen still pleased a lot of people and they took to social media to share their emotional reactions. One fan said it was “everything” he wanted, sharing that the entire theater he went to see it with were in tears thanks to the musical:
#DearEvanHansen is everything I wanted, and then some. As I sat in an auditorium full of sniffles, I knew I wasn’t alone. And as I sat frozen in my seat in the end, I knew I had seen one of the most beautiful and moving movies of the year, and also one of my favorites. pic.twitter.com/btLcHeivfBSeptember 23, 2021
Another fan wanted to particularly shout out to Kaitlyn Dever, who plays Connor’s sister Zoe in the film. She also really loved the new music that was added just for the movie. One of the new songs is called “The Anonymous Ones,” which was written and sung by Amandla Stenberg in the movie:
I saw Dear Evan Hansen last night, and really enjoyed it. The new cast members have beautiful voices (especially loved Kaitlyn Dever's performance!) and they added two songs that helped round out the film.September 24, 2021
Dear Evan Hansen definitely sounds like a tearjerker and it created a profound experience for many people who experienced the movie in its first week. As another fan added:
guys the dear evan hansen movie was amazing. @BenSPLATT you absolutely killed it you made both me & my mom sob in the theater 🥺 i love you 🤍September 26, 2021
There’s certainly a lot of opinions about Dear Evan Hansen and whether you like it or not will defer from person to person.
YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.
Your Daily Blend of Entertainment News
Thank you for signing up to CinemaBlend. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.