‘Dear Evan Hansen’ adaptation is ‘a total misfire,’ ‘one of the worst movie-musicals ever made,’ critics say

Ben Platt stars in “Dear Evan Hansen.”


On Broadway, “Dear Evan Hansen” became as soon as a atomize hit. On the big display veil veil, it be poised to be a flop.

Basically the most as a lot as date Hollywood musical adaptation debuted on the Toronto Global Film Competition on Thursday sooner than its Sept. 24 launch. Whereas the stage musical became as soon as lauded, earning six Tony Awards in 2017, preliminary reactions and reports of the Universal film are far less form.

“Stephen Chbosky’s cinematic adaptation of ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ … is a entire misfire,” wrote Robert Daniels in his evaluation for RogerEbert.com. “It is an emotionally manipulative, overlong dirge quiet of cloying songs, lackluster vocal performances, and even worse writing.”

“Dear Evan Hansen” is about a excessive college scholar named Evan Hansen, played by Ben Platt, who suffers from mental smartly being complications. His therapist has suggested him to write letters to himself to true his feelings. When Evan’s classmate Connor Murphy steals one amongst these letters, Evan’s existence will get grew to become the other intention up. Connor takes his private existence and the most easy ingredient found on his person is Evan’s letter. Connor’s fogeys buy that Connor had written the letter for Evan and wrongly consider Evan became as soon as Connor’s finest friend.

What starts off as an harmless misunderstanding spirals into an infinite lie. Evan claims he became as soon as chums with Connor and fakes a secret friendship with the deceased boy, ingratiating himself with Connor’s fogeys. Evan begins to slot in in class and helps raise consciousness about mental smartly being complications by “The Connor Mission,” a fundraising initiative for suicide prevention.

His deception finally unravels.

“Onstage, it be a tearjerker: a wrenching misfortune tale for the grownups, and a most steadily frank examination of psychological complications that don’t appear to be if truth be told addressed in mainstream media to its plethora of younger followers,” wrote David Gordon in his evaluation for Theater Mania. “It strains credulity … We understand it be no longer exact, but we trip along with it anyway, and it affords a high-quality dinky catharsis amid the upright gray home as we buy the solid album on the vogue out.”

On film, it be “a varied tale,” Gordon wrote.

“Evan’s actions, which we form of shrug off after seeing it on Broadway on story of they’re presented with hints of ambiguity, are if truth be told grotesque in celluloid,” he acknowledged. “He’s a Machiavellian villain in a story the set up he’s written to be the hero.”

Broadway is rarely any stranger to sad arena material. Shows together with “Les Miserables,” “Stride away out Saigon,” “Assassins,” “Sweeney Todd” and “Next to Identical old” like all explored spirited issues such as death, suicide and mental smartly being.

Nevertheless, “Dear Evan Hansen” has constantly been controversial within the eyes of musical followers. There’s dinky doubt that the stage production became as soon as greatly a success, garnering nearly $250 million in label gross sales since 2016, in step with information from Broadway World.

Restful, many like taken exclaim with how it makes relate of mental illness as a location instrument and Evan’s alarm and despair as excuses for manipulative behavior.

Platt, who reprises his role as Evan Hansen, which he originated on Broadway, became as soon as praised for his singing performance. Nevertheless, many critics balked at his casting. At 27 years extinct, Platt is unable to snatch the youthful innocence that would possibly per chance well endear audiences to Evan despite his questionable actions.

“If there had been any likelihood of making this personality scrutinize like something varied than a monster, it rested on emphasizing his uncooked childhood,” wrote Alison Willmore, critic for Vulture and Silent York Magazine, on Twitter. “Which makes the casting of an clearly grown man honest exact hunching his shoulders an act of sabotage that is shut to avant-garde.”

The filmed version of “Dear Evan Hansen” cuts four songs but quiet manages to clock in at round two hours and 17 minutes, nearly longer than the stage version.

It is “overwrought and impassive on the an identical time,” wrote Karl Delossantos in his evaluation for Break Decrease. It is “insensitive in opposition to trauma and mental illness, and out of contact with truth.”

“No doubt one amongst the worst film-musicals ever made,” he wrote.

Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal is the distributor of “Dear Evan Hansen.”