During this pandemic, many families worldwide have lost loved ones and friends within the blink of an eye. Many, not even being able to hold their hands or say goodbye for the last time. As horrible as this is, imagine being in a car wreck where you are the sole survivor and what that guilt does to your psyche, your spirit and your soul.
Based on the book, ‘Our Chemical Hearts’ by Krystal Sutherland, 17-year-old Henry Page (Austin Abrams) has never been in love and is holding out for that kind of once-in-a-lifetime love he’s been hoping for and just hasn’t happened…yet. Then, he meets Grace Town (Lili Reinhart) who would change his life forever. When Grace and Henry are chosen to co-edit the school paper, he is immediately drawn to the mystery Grace is shrouded in. Once his discovers her heartbreaking life changing secret, Charlie finds himself falling in love with Grace — or at least the person he thinks she represents.
This is a complicated, angst love story in which Lili Reinhart as Grace more than capably and effectively carries the film along with her co-star Austin Abrams. The rollercoaster or emotions we witness them both ride is tempered with a few comedic more moments here and there to lighten up the mood. Like the first time they sleep together, watching his newspaper co-hort La (Kara Young) as she awkwardly crushes on another girl or the glee from Henry’s fam when they discover he has a girlfriend.
As one quarter of a military family, I could relate with the awkwardness of going to a new school while figuring out how you will or won’t fit in. I can only imagine how that must be compounded with an injury that doesn’t allow one to assimilate physically as most teens move and groove through high school. I can also relate to the moodiness that comes with being a teen girl. An emotional, chemical, hormonal reaction dictating and controlling you giving those around them confusing signals on a daily basis.
Hearts and the feelings that dictate and swirl around them are complicated. What isn’t complicated is when those feelings evolve from hurt and angst to maturity and growth. something both Henry and Grace learn and grow from. It was also not lost on me, that Director and Writer Richard Tanne, give a sensitive and caring spotlight to the mental anguish associated with teen grief and how when pushed down eventually erupts like a volcano. He doesn’t make Grace a basket case and makes Henry empathetic to a fault over his first true love.
Produced by Amazon Prime Video, Chemical Hearts is streaming VOD right now.