The much-anticipated film adaptation of the hit Broadway show Dear Evan Hansen finally hit cinemas over the weekend. But while plenty of fans were just happy to see the film after the long wait, others were quick to spot a few problems with the star-studded musical. Here's why Dear Evan Hansen is already facing backlash from viewers.
The film follows a high school kid who suffers with social anxiety and at the request of his therapist starts writing letters to himself. After one of Evan's letters is mistaken for a suicide note for one of his classmates, Evan gets caught up in a lie that gets out of hand. The original play has long been praised for its frank and heart-wrenching exploration of loss, grief and loneliness, so when news broke that a film was coming, fans were overjoyed. However, almost as soon as the first trailer landed, people began criticising a number of elements of the film, from the casting to the make-up.
The majority of the backlash centres around the fact that the film's central character, 16-year-old Evan Hansen, is played by Pitch Perfect star Ben Platt who is 28, and while a lot of work has gone into making him look younger, audiences apparently found it entirely unconvincing.
whatever they tried to do to ben platt to make him look 16 instead of 28 for dear evan hansen backfired so bad like this is a 40 something year old math teacher going through a divorce pic.twitter.com/kWVkYsT0Pm
— MOB MY FRIEND MOB (@hornedbride) September 30, 2021
ben platt really killed it in dear evan hansen pic.twitter.com/wKDB82HUy8
— girlgenius. (@SlimJosa) September 26, 2021
Ben Platt practicing choreography for Dear Evan Hansen https://t.co/CfGnF34CId
— Firaga Walk With Me (@firagawalkwthme) September 25, 2021
Meanwhile, one of the show's producers, Mark Platt, just so happens to be Ben Platt's dad, which has led to a number of accusations of nepotism from fans, with some of them suggesting that's why Platt was cast to play a character almost half his age.
I think at this point you just have to sit back and enjoy that Dear Evan Hansen was expressly set up as a movie by Ben Platt’s dad to get his son an award and it’s prob gonna set the guy’s career back like five years
— Jake Cole (@ThatJakePC) September 20, 2021
The Dear Evan Hansen stuff is a classic case of nepotism-ing too close to the sun. Ben Platt’s dad is a broadway and film producer but no one cared because he was really great in the broadway version and everything was cool but then he had to be in the movie and shit melted quick
— G. L. Di Vittorio (@gldivittorio) September 29, 2021
However, the film's director Stephen Chbosky revealed in an interview that he had wanted Ben Platt for the role given that Platt had played the part on Broadway from 2015 to 2017, picking up a Tony Award in the process.
"It was always Ben," he told The Hollywood Reporter, adding, "Having heard the soundtrack and knowing what it was, understanding his connection to it from the very first workshop, it was him or nothing."
Meanwhile, other fans have come to the film's defence, saying that Platt's age didn't matter to them since they found his performance and the whole film so compelling, with others pointing out that actors are often cast to play much younger roles without the same level of criticism.
Just came back from watching Dear Evan Hansen at the cinema and just want to do a Ben Platt appreciation post. He’s so incredible!!
If you’re a fan of musicals it’s a must see 🤯
— morgan (@M0RGZ) October 24, 2021
Maybe I’m biased by my affection for the Broadway production, but I enjoyed the ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ movie much more than the critics. The reviews had me prepared for a disaster. Ben looks much better in the movie than in the stills.
— 𝙺𝚊𝚝𝚑 𝚂𝚔𝚎𝚛𝚛𝚢 🎞️ (@KathSkerry) October 18, 2021
— KatieTheSus ≧◉◡◉≦ (@KatieTheSus) October 22, 2021
Whatever your thoughts on Ben Platt's casting, we reckon the rest of the lineup (Julianne Moore, Kaitlyn Dever, Amandla Stenberg and Amy Adams) will get you sprinting to the cinema regardless.
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