Dear Evan Hansen's Rotten Tomatoes score unveiled as scathing first reviews arrive

·3-min read
Photo credit: Universal
Photo credit: Universal

Dear Evan Hansen's reviews are in, and opening opinions suggest that it pales in comparison to its source material.

The film version of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical has been controversial among theatre and movie fans ever since Ben Platt was announced as its lead.

The movie follows the story of a lonely high schooler who fabricates a friendship after the death of a fellow student.

Photo credit: Universal
Photo credit: Universal

Related: Dear Evan Hansen writer hits out at "cruel" Ben Platt criticism

Directed by Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower), Ben Platt reprises the titular role having gained critical acclaim for leading the stage play. But despite his previous success in the role, his casting was controversial as he was around 10 years older than the character.

Ahead of its release today (September 24) in the US and next month in the UK, the first critical reviews have dropped and it's fair to say it hasn't impressed critics, debuting on Rotten Tomatoes at just 34%.

Have a look at some early reviews below:

Rolling Stone

"There are enough of these goosebump-inducing, epiphanic moments courtesy of the actor that you see why people might love this film as well as cringe at it. Platt does not ruin the movie. He single-handedly gives it a voice."

New York Times

"Treacly and manipulative, Dear Evan Hansen turns villain into victim and grief into an exploitable vulnerability."

Photo credit: Universal
Photo credit: Universal

Screen Rant

"Dear Evan Hansen goes for sincerity but it lacks awareness about its central character and has nothing interesting or deep to say about mental health."

National Review

"Apart from Platt, everyone else in the movie does fine, understanding that the weepy lyrics do most of the work and therefore do not require them to add sweetener to the heaping tub of pudding that is Steven Levenson's script."

AV Club

"An adaptation that's alternately baffling and cringeworthy, with only the occasional emotional highpoint for balance."


"Its story... will speak to anyone who has struggled with depression, alienation or loneliness. A dubious bit of casting and less-than-riveting musical numbers, however, detract from the movie's power."

Photo credit: Universal
Photo credit: Universal

Washington Post

"Amid Levenson's overhaul and director Stephen Chbosky's grounded aesthetic – both of which fluctuate between fascinating and flummoxing – Dear Evan Hansen's foundation thankfully survives the stage-to-screen remodeling."

San Francisco Chronicle

"Adolescence can be difficult, but never so difficult as actually sitting through all 137 minutes of Dear Evan Hansen, an insufferably twee film adaptation of the Broadway musical."

Los Angeles Times

"Sorry, haters, the film isn't a train wreck. This musical, which had its Broadway premiere in 2016, works better in the theater. But the translation to the screen is smoother than expected."

USA Today

"Even though it introduces a new crop of fans to its hummable soundtrack, Dear Evan Hansen is the perfect example of why every hit Broadway musical shouldn't be made into a movie."

Photo credit: Universal
Photo credit: Universal

New York Magazine

"When the movie Dear Evan Hansen adds dimension to the stage version, it does so by working against the original's platitudes and giving more weight to its inherent brutality."

The Atlantic

"Almost everything imaginable has gone wrong on the journey from stage to screen, and the result is a film that isn't even "so bad it's good," like some other recent musical movies; mostly, it's just painful to watch."

Dear Evan Hansen will be released in cinemas on October 22 in the UK and on September 24 in the US. The theatre show reopens in London in October 2021, with tickets available now.

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