Dear Evan Hansen movie

Dear Evan Hansen movie ridiculed after world premiere in Toronto

Should we be surprised that during these divided times, and when audiences are finally getting back to attending films in person, that the responses to a film would expose some of the fractures in society?

Who would have thought it would be Dear Evan Hansen, the Tony Award winning musical that's been adapted for the big screen, would cause such a ruckus?

The movie screened on Thursday as the official opening night film of this year's Toronto International Film Festival. It's an honour that more often than not is given to a film that fails to live up to expectations or somehow misses the mark and this year we were right on trend.

Stars of the film turned out for the red carpet at Roy Thomson Hall which was at 50 per cent of its usual capacity due to social distancing restrictions.

Mayor John Tory and TIFF co-heads Cameron Bailey and Joana Vicente were there along with cast members Ben Platt and Julianne Moore among others.

My own take on Dear Evan Hansen is that it's a solid B/B+ film, taking the best of the musical and providing a story that's complex and emotionally effective, especially as it shines a light beyond the central characters upon those that take up causes after the fact and use social media as a cudgel.

Some people actually agreed with me

Seems my mild praise served as a nice, viral-worth contrast to others that were slightly more...heated?

While there are legions of fans of the original musical, there are those quick to point out that Dear Evan Hansen was always awful so expectations should have been muted.

The main criticism of the movie is that Ben Platt looks far too old to be playing a High School student.

During press for the film, the cast responded to complaints, particularly those about the age of the cast (Platt and Nik Donani are 27, Kaitlyn Dever is 24, all playing seventeen year-old students as per tradition.)

There were also questions about Platt's hair.

Not every reviewer got it right the first time, so some had to dial back some of their most hyperbolic negative sentiments.

Beyond the back and forth between fans and detractors, many chose to take the middle ground, even if as always that's a rare sentiment to post publicly.

With some deciding this was the worst film musicals of all time, there were some that provided a comparison to remind of the last time things got heated on this front:


Lead photo by


Latest Videos

Latest Videos

Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in Film

Barbie star Simu Liu now has his own Ken doll and fans are split

Toronto film grad is providing vintage cars for movies and music video shoots

Arnold Schwarzenegger gushes about his love for Toronto in new video

Here's all the movies you can watch for free under the stars in Toronto parks this summer

The history of Toronto's King of Kensington

Two popular TV shows having a huge prop sale in Toronto

New movie featuring Toronto's Comedy Bar is getting its Canadian premiere

Toronto film community devastated after passing of Samantha Weinstein at age 28