On Broadway, “Dear Evan Hansen” was a smash hit. It could turn out to be a flop on the big screen.
The latest Hollywood musical adaptation debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival on Thursday, ahead of its September 24 release. While the on-stage musical garnered praise, winning six Tony Awards in 2017, Universal’s initial reactions and reviews of the film have been far less kind.
In his review for RogerEbert.com, Robert Daniels wrote: “Stephen Chbosky’s film adaptation of ‘Dear Evan Hansen’… is a complete dud.” “It’s an emotionally manipulative and enduring elegy made up of catchy lyrics, lackluster vocal performances, and even worse writing.”
“Dear Evan Hansen” is about a high school student, Evan Hansen, played by Ben Platt, who suffers from mental health issues. Her therapist asks her to write letters to herself expressing her feelings. When Evan’s classmate Conor Murphy steals one of these letters, Evan’s life is turned upside down. Connor commits suicide and the only thing found on him is a letter from Evan. Connor’s parents believe Connor wrote the letter for Evan and mistakenly believe that Evan was Connor’s only friend.
What starts off as an innocent misunderstanding turns into a big lie. Evan claims he was a friend of Connor and claims to have a secret friendship with the dead boy, reconciling with Connor’s parents. Evan begins to integrate into school and helps raise awareness of mental health issues through “Project Conner,” a suicide prevention fundraising initiative.
His deception is finally exposed.
In his review for Theater Mania, David Gordon wrote: “Onstage it’s a tearful story: a story of horrific heartbreak for adults and a generally candid examination of the psychological issues that plague young fans in the mainstream media. public. Not really covered. “It stifles credibility… we know it’s not real, but we accept it anyway, and it provides a nice little catharsis in the middle of the moral gray area when we buy distribution albums along the way. “
In the movies, it’s “another story,” Gordon wrote.
“Evan’s works, which we’re putting back after seeing them on Broadway because they’re presented with a hint of ambiguity, are really original in celluloid,” he said. “He’s the Machiavellian villain in a story where he’s written to be the hero.”
Broadway is no stranger to Dark Materials. Shows such as “Les Misérables”, “Miss Saigon”, “The Killers”, “Sweeney Todd” and “Next to Normal” all explore difficult topics such as death, suicide and mental health.
However, “Dear Evan Hansen” has always been controversial in the eyes of music lovers. There is no doubt that the stage production has been very successful, garnering nearly $ 250 million in ticket sales since 2016, according to data from Broadway World.
Still, many have disputed how he uses mental illness as a conspiracy and Evan’s anxiety and depression as excuses for manipulative behavior.
Platt, who is reprising his role as Evan Hansen, which he premiered on Broadway, was praised for his vocal performance. However, many critics balked at its casting. At 27, Platt is unable to capture the youthful innocence that audiences will adore despite Evan’s questionable actions.
Alison Wilmore wrote: “If there was a chance this character would look like anything other than a monster, it hinged on his focus on raw youth.” Vulture on Twitter and review for New York Magazine. “Which makes the casting of a clearly grown man shrugging his shoulders such a forward-thinking act of sabotage.”
The filmed version of “Dear Evan Hansen” has four songs, but is still almost longer than the stage version, at two hours and 17 minutes.
In his review of Smash Cut, Carl Delosantos wrote, “It’s both overdone and emotionless.” He is “insensitive to trauma and mental illness, and out of touch with reality.”
“Without a doubt one of the worst movie musicals of all time,” he wrote.
Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal is the distributor of “Dear Evan Hansen”.