Coming from Amazon Studios and writer/director Richard Tanne based on the novel by Krystal Sutherland is the young romance induced by CHEMICAL HEARTS.
Henry (Austin Abrams) is a high schooler with a knack for the written word but not much for finding romance in the final years of high school. A hopeless romantic who has never been in love does not mean that he isn’t holding out hope.
Called into the office of the journalism teacher, Henry is introduced to transfer student Grace (Lili Reinhart), and told that they will be co-editors of the school newspaper. Grace makes it clear to Henry that she really is not interested in writing but will play along taking care of other things for the paper.
Henry is intrigued by Grace and tries to learn more about her, but Grace has secrets and wants to keep them to herself. But something odd begins to happen between the two, Grace lets Henry drive himself home in her car and then walks away with her cane never telling Henry where she is going or why?
As the two become closer, Grace slowly shares with Henry why she is a transfer student and how one event in life can make every day an effort to find forgiveness, acceptance and where they each belong in the world waiting for them.
Then, as quickly as they find each other, it all comes crashing down and Henry learns that the love he has been waiting for brings its own share of pain.
Abrams as Henry is absolutely charming, delightful, funny, sincere and a bit naïve as all young men in their senior year can be. Yet, in all that, is a character that has the beauty of the written word to find solace in while traversing senior year. Abrams is so wonderful in this role that I kept hoping he would find what he was looking for – even if that took another shape.
Reinhart as Grace is not the easiest to get close to from the moment she steps onto the screen. With cane and secrets in hand, she is not about to let anyone inside her intense bubble. Hoping she can fly under the radar; she finds something in Henry that gives her mind peace and a person to explain things too. The problem with secrets is that there is always someone else who knows the truth and Grace knows that as well. Reinhart meshes strong and weak into a young woman who needs to separate the two if she is going to be able to move on.
The supporting cast include Sarah Jones as Suds, Kara Young as La, Coral Pena as Cora CJ Hoff as Muz, Shannon Walsh as Miranda, Bruce Altman as Toby, Meg gibson as gloria, Adhir Kalyan as Kem, Robert Clohessy as Martin, Catherine Curtin as Sarah, Anzi DeBenedetto as Elks and Jon Lemmon as Dominic.
Amazon Prime offers television shows and original content included in its Amazon Prime subscription. Original programs such as CARNIVAL ROW, THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, and THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL are hit shows. Coming soon is the next series with GOLIATH starring Billy Bob Thornton and it promises to another successful and intense series.
Krystal Sutherland is the author of the book Our Chemical Hearts which was released by Penguin in 2016 and Hot Key in Europe. She says of her book, “It involves the terribly tragic and awful experience of falling in love for the first time.”
CHEMICAL HEARTS is absolutely the struggle of teen angst with those who are painfully shy, to those that are outwardly insecure and the reality that the love of your life might not be the love of this life. The latter being the most difficult the film gives us from start to finish.
Both of these actors, Abrams and Reinhart, tackle roles that are difficult because we all have been through them ourselves which makes the story so engrossing to watch. As teens I think we can all remember the secrets we held, the things we told ourselves to get by, first loves and the struggle to even understand the word ‘love’, friendships, parents worry – all of it.
They say love is the answer but never promised that the path toward it would be an easy one for any of us, young and young at heart.
In the end – fall in love and fall apart.