The 13 most cringeworthy moments in 'Dear Evan Hansen' - from the lack of chemistry between Evan and Zoe to the odd portrayal of mental health

Ben Platt in "Dear Evan Hansen". Universal images
"Dear Evan Hansen" has come under fire because Ben Platt is a 27 year old student.
It has also come under fire for an irresponsible portrayal of mental health issues.
The film, starring Amandla Stenberg and Amy Adams, was released in theaters on Friday.
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The entire premise of "Dear Evan Hansen" is flawed.
"Dear Evan Hansen." Universal images
Dear Evan Hansen, an adaptation of the Broadway musical that premiered in December 2016, tells the story of Evan Hansen, a teenager who is in therapy to treat social anxiety and depression.
Evan writes himself a encouragement letter mentioning his crush, Zoe Murphy. Zoe's brother Connor steals the letter.
Connor had the letter in his pocket when he finally died of suicide. It leads Connor's family to believe the two were friends - and Evan doesn't correct them. In fact, Evan takes advantage of the Murphy's family pain to get closer to Zoe.
Yes, Evan is the worst and has little consequence.
All the while we have to pretend that Ben Platt is passing high school.
27-year-old Ben Platt plays a teenager in "Dear Evan Hansen". Rich Fury / Getty Images / Universal Pictures
Much of the criticism of "Dear Evan Hansen" revolves around the fact that the lead actor, Platt, is a 27-year-old who plays a high school student. It is perfectly justified to raise an eyebrow at this fact.
Television shows have occupied adults as students for decades. One of the most notorious examples of this is Gabrielle Carteris, who played 16-year-old high school student Andrea Zuckerman in "Beverly Hills, 90210" at the age of 29 People.
But even though Platt started the role of Evan in the musical when he was in his early twenties, it's ridiculous to repeat it on screen five years later as a mature-looking 27-year-old.
Platt addressed the controversy over NBC's "The Drink with Kate Snow" earlier this month.
"I'm trying my best to hide it because there's nothing I can do about how old I am," said Platt. “When I play a character there are all sorts of things about me that are not who I am. I weigh a little less, dress a little differently, or my hair is a little more curly. And in this particular case, I am someone younger than me. "
Why does Jared Evans call therapy a "sex letter"?
Universal images
The trigger for the questionable plot of "Dear Evan Hansen" is an assignment that Evans therapist gives him to write a letter of encouragement to himself. It is an exercise to manage anxiety and depression.
So it's pretty disturbing that Evans “family friend” Jared (Nik Dodani) keeps referring to the note as a “sex letter”. It's bullying by Evan's closest "friend."
This supposed teasing could make others feel ashamed of seeking help for their mental health problems, which is completely uncool.
The film has homophobic undertones.
"Dear Evan Hansen." Universal images
Although many people thought the original stage production of "Dear Evan Hansen" was a queer love story - it is not.
The film attempts to make this theory easy by keeping Jared telling Evan that Connor's (Colton Ryan) family will think they are a couple based on all of the detailed lies it tells them about fake day trips they went on together .
It wouldn't have been a bad thing that Evan and Connor were in love, but mocking Evan makes "Dear Evan Hansen" seem homophobic.
It's a bit upsetting when Alana and Evan Name drop their anxiety and depression drugs in conversation after they've been dating for about two seconds.
Evan and Alana don't know each other well when they reveal their medication to each other. Universal images
"Dear Evan Hansen" has many harrowing moments - but this one could hit the hardest.
The cast and crew of "Dear Evan Hansen" seek to break the horrific criticism of their film by promoting it as a film about mental health.
"There are millions of children struggling and going through so much," director Stephen Chbosky said, according to Yahoo. "We made it for them. Millions of children will be reached with it."
He may be right, but millions of other children may feel that their mental health is being exploited. Evan and class representative Alana (Amandla Stenberg) share the medication they take very early in their friendship.
Having honest conversations about your mental health treatment plan with people you trust is vital, as is reducing the stigma of talking about all of these. But most people probably don't feel comfortable sharing their drug names with strangers on random nights in the park.
Every moment of Evan's public speech about Connor is going to make you scream.
Ben Platt as Evan Hansen. Universal images
Speaking of real youth fights, let's talk about Connor.
Within the film, the tragedy of his death only happens to help our "hero" make friends and influence people. Conner's real personality is beaten up by almost anyone who should have loved him, and his only chance of salvation comes in the form of Evans' bold lies.
The horror of this "deeply insulting" act (as Variety so succinctly put it) becomes most evident when Evan gives a public speech about Conner at a school meeting. For the first few minutes of the scene, you might embarrass Evan with all the second-hand laughs and laughter from the audience.
That sick feeling in your stomach won't go away for you when the tide changes for Evan and he starts to be applauded for passing on false memories of Connor. If you can't resist the urge to stop watching or scream at your screen, we can't blame you.
Joking aside, according to a report by UC Davis Health, suicide rates among children and teenagers have increased "alarmingly". Children with depression and drug addiction deserve a better story than Conner's.
At the very least, let's acknowledge that lying about a stranger's life is likely to have more negative than positive consequences.
The song "If I Could Tell Her" has incestuous vibes.
Ben Platt and Kaitlyn Dever in "Dear Evan Hansen". Universal images.
"If I Could Tell Her" is a song that Evan Connor's sister Zoe (Kaitlyn Dever) sings to confess his own romantic feelings for her.
The awesome part is that Evan Zoe presents the song as if it were feelings Connor had for Zoe that he never had the strength to tell her.
Examples of some of the song's most unfortunate lyrics are:
“Well he said
There is nothing like your smile
Kind of subtle and perfect and real
He said
You never knew how wonderful
That smile could make someone feel. "
This is a very intimate way for a brother to talk about his sister's smile. But there is more:
“If I could tell her
How everything is to me
But we're a million worlds apart
And I don't even know how to start
If I could tell her. "
And then there's the fact that Connor reportedly watched Zoe dance when she thought no one was watching:
"And he wondered how you learned to dance
As if the rest of the world wasn't there. "
That's what stalkers do.
The audience also knows that Evan is lying and only confesses his own deep feelings to her.
How are we supposed to ignore the sick feeling that naturally builds up in our stomachs throughout the scene?
Amy Adams seems constipated throughout the movie.
Amy Adams in "Dear Evan Hansen". Universal images
Amy Adams has appeared in some beautiful films such as "Enchanted" and "Julie & Julia". She has also been involved in some critically acclaimed projects such as "Sharp Objects" and "American Hustle".
So the fact that Adams took on the role of Connor's mother, Cynthia Murphy, is startling, but we can't let her off the hook that easily.
Your attitude towards a grieving mother is both clogged and boring - and we don't say that lightly. The script doesn't do her a favor and unfortunately, Cynthia seems to be holding something in her hand the whole time.
She's too perfect, too naive, too rich and privileged and robotic. If you wait for her emotions to explode throughout the movie, you are not alone, but the moment never really comes.
Zoe and Evan's chemistry is about as believable as the tooth fairy's.
"Dear Evan Hansen." Universal images
We don't have any criticisms of Diver's performance as Zoe, but that doesn't mean she and Platt have any chemistry at all.
We are supposed to believe that the future couple will bond if Evan is extremely involved in his lie and goes to the Murphy house often. But when "Dear Evan Hansen" actually tried to lay the groundwork for a romance between Zoe and Evan, it failed.
Seeing your most intimate moments together is almost physically painful. Their vibrations, of course, repel each other, but for Hollywood's sake they play "in love" and lose the game.
That makes the end of the film, in which they think about what would happen between them if they had only met at different times in their lives, even flatter than if their story were a platonic friendship and betrayal.
Evans and Heidi's fight in front of the Murphy house proves that the protagonist is superficial and self-centered.
Ben Platt and Julianne Moore in "Dear Evan Hansen". Universal images
Julianne Moore delivers the best performance as Evans mother Heidi Hansen in "Dear Evan Hansen" (with Dever just behind).
The scene between Evan and Heidi in front of the Murphy house, right after Heidi declined Murphy's offer to pay Evans tuition fees (a very uncomfortable moment that deserves a Honorable Mention) is embarrassing mainly because of Evan's audacity.
He's never a hero worth rooting for, but when he yells at his mother for not loving him as much as the Murphys do, he's just vicious. Also, how do you measure a mother's love by how much she can add to your tuition, Evan? How superficial and self-centered.
In the scene, Evan mentions that his mother makes him feel guilty about his social anxiety issues, but Heidi just comes across as an overworked, stressed-out parent with an ungrateful brat for a son.
Words fail to try to describe the scene in which Evan confesses his lies to the Murphys.
Ben Platt in "Dear Evan Hansen". Universal images
We reach the climax of "Dear Evan Hansen" when Evan confesses that he was never friends with Conner at the Murphys and essentially describes how he used their son's suicide for attention.
Platt's exaggerated performance of "Words Fail" and the absolute inadequacy of the lyrics make the scene unbearable.
We know words can't describe how terrible your behavior is, Evan. Words are lacking for us too, but repeating the sentence over and over will not get you off the hook.
(When we talk about Platt's musical performances, it seems like the right time to say he exaggerates so much in the finale that we swear we heard him sniffing snot while singing.)
We need to talk about Evan's cast.
A signature created a whole mess. Universal images
It's annoying that the cast even exists because plaster of paris can be blamed for this whole tangled story.
But it's strange that Dear Evan Hansen doesn't even try to make a cast's experience seem authentic. It's just a support.
Evan never itches. If you take a close look at the above picture, you will notice that there is no sock or cotton under Platt's arm, which is always placed under real plaster casts for extra protection.
Even if the actual process of removing a cast is as seamless and clean as it is in the film, Evans arm is magically perfectly fine afterwards. In reality, it would be stiff as soon as it was removed.
Every time we have to hear or see the phrase "best and dearest friend".
Ben Platt in "Dear Evan Hansen". Universal images
I love proper grammar, so every time we have to repeat the closing salutation in Evan's letter to ourselves, it's like listening to nails on a blackboard.
Aren't you careful in English class, Evan?
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Ben Platt
American actor and singer

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