Movie review: ‘Chemical Hearts’ captures chemistry of teen romance

“People are just the ashes of dead stars,” says the heroine, echoing a famous astronomy quote. This time, in the movie Chemical Hearts, this quote means, ladies and gentlemen, that we have officially arrived in teenage limbo.

This high school romantic drama, now streaming on Amazon Prime Video, is certainly an “extraordinary collection of atoms”.

Chemical Hearts is the second film Richard Tanne has directed. Critics acclaimed his first, Southside With You, in2016. This premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and earned him a Gotham Award nomination for Breakthrough Director.

Tanne also was associated with films such as 2001 Maniacs in 2005 and Mischief Night in 2014.

Chemical Hearts is also the second film he has written but, boy, what a phenomenal job he has done.

The hearts in ‘Chemical Hearts’

It tells the story of high school pupil Henry Page (Austin Abrams) who finds himself living a far from typical teenage life.

He struggles to put his feelings into spoken words. However when it comes to writing, his words flow like poetry. Henry has never fallen in love and gets by every day at school with his trusted friends by his side.

Then new girl Grace Town (Lili Reinhart) enters his class and she becomes his co-editor at the high school newspaper. Against the odds, the pair find they have a chemistry but Grace, though, comes with a broken past.

4d5d0f95 chemical hearts - Movie review: ‘Chemical Hearts’ captures chemistry of teen romance
Image via Instagram/@chemicalhearts

Based on the novel by Krystal Sutherland, the screenplay has the typical feel expected from a teenage romance.

Stephen James Taylor’s music is haunting and fits the bill to perfection.

Writer and director Richard Tanne brings the story to the screen with some fantastic dialogue.

Lead actor Abrams shows potential and delivers a commendable performance — he is definitely a young star to keep an eye on.

The support cast do well, too, with South Africa’s very own Adhir Kalyan making a worthy cameo as high school teacher Mr Sharma.

Lili Reinhart is full of grace

Chemical Hearts is all about Reinhart’s performance, though. The Riverdale star has been all over the news lately for happenings in her personal life. And, as the Archie Comics based series takes a production break, it’s great to see her back on screen.

She shows her versatility and essays the role of Grace with utmost grace, for lack of better words.

Her eyes do the talking in so many portions. Look out for the final frame of the film where she is absolutely stunning.

Chemical Hearts is now streaming globally on Amazon Prime Video and is highly recommended for all the romantics out there.

  • Rating: 8/10 

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