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Dear Evan Hansen (2021 Film)

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Added Sep 16, 2021 at 10:51AM EDT by Adam.

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Dear Evan Hansen (2021 Film) refers to the cinematic adaptation of the stage musical of the same name, released in September of 2021. Prior to the film's global release, it attracted negative attention online, primarily because commenters and early reviewers felt the film's lead, Ben Platt, appeared too old to convincingly play the teenage title character, though Platt originated the role on Broadway. The film was also the subject of a Mandela Effect: after its first trailer was revealed, people were shocked to learn that the musical was not about a gay teenager coming out of the closet, as many believed.


Dear Evan Hansen tells the story of the shy titular character who is assigned to write letters to himself by his therapist. After one of his letters is found on a classmate who commits suicide, Evan is mistakenly thought of as the late classmate's secret confidant, and finds himself at the center of a memorial charity for the deceased teen, bringing him positive attention and possibly the romantic interest of the deceased's sister.

Universal Pictures began development on a cinematic adaptation of Dear Evan Hansen in November of 2018.[1] Stephen Chbosky was named director and the screenplay would be handled by Steven Levenson, who wrote the original musical. The first trailer for the film was released on May 18th, 2021 (shown below). The film was released at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 9th, 2021. It releases globally on September 24th.[2]


After the release of the film's first trailer, it began attracting criticism, primarily because commenters felt Platt, who is 27 years old, appeared too old to convincingly play the teenaged title character.[3] Platt dismissed criticisms, noting how the movie musical Grease used adults to play teenagers.[4] Some also accused the casting of Platt as a nepotistic choice, as Platt's father, Marc Platt, produced the film.[5]

Platt's casting remained a sticking point for critics after the film's premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival. While critics granted that films have been using actors in their twenties to play teenagers for decades, the work done by Platt and the production team made Platt particularly unconvincing. The Guardian[6] called his presence "ghoulish" in their review of the film, writing:

The team behind Dear Evan Hansen put Platt in prosthetics and opaque, pasty makeup, along with a curly mop of hair, that strands the actor firmly in the uncanny valley. But the attempt to make Platt seem younger somehow renders him both older and inhuman – an act of near-sabotage so distracting it basically renders the movie unrecoverable.

Vulture[7] also criticized the makeup and Platt's acting choices, opining that they worked to make Platt look less like a teenager and more like an older adult attempting to fool his classmates into thinking he's a teenager. As of September 17th, 2021, the film has a 41/100 rating on Metacritic.[8]

Online Presence

Mandela Effect

After the first trailer for the film was released in May, several social media users expressed surprise that not only had they remembered the plot of the musical incorrectly, they shared a similar misconception with many other Twitter users. Many on social media were surprised to learn the musical was not about a gay teenager coming out of the closet, and expressed revulsion at the musical's actual plot, with many finding Hansen's actions reprehensible.

david ehrlich ... @davidehrlich the Wikipedia plot summary of dear evan hansen is probably the longest trip l've taken since the pandemic started 4:14 PM · May 18, 2021 · Twitter for iPhone JP ... @jpbrammer the way our one community brain cell hallucinated a Dear Evan Hansen plot that never existed... what will be exposed as a mirage next ? 10:44 AM · May 19, 2021 · Twitter Web App

Broadway / Film Adaptation

Broadway / Film Adaptation refers to parodies of the way cinematic adaptations of Broadway musicals tend to cast actors in lead roles even though they've aged well beyond the age of the character they're supposed to play. The parodies were inspired by Dear Evan Hansen. The format is an offshoot of the Netflix Adaptation meme.

•.. hacktionmanjoe e @hackermanjoe 'Dear Evan Hansen' Film Adaptation Broadway BEAS GS

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I don't think "Mandela Effect" is the right term for thinking it was about being gay; that's more of an assumption that many people (myself included) would make based on a cursory glance at the show without ever seeing it, not something someone who'd actually seen it could feasibly misremember.


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