Chemical Hearts | Chicago Reader
click to enlarge chemicalhearts.jpg

Chemical Hearts

With Chemical Hearts, director Richard Tanne attempts to explore love, debilitating depression, and the chemicals that ignite both in the teenage brain. But Tanne (who wrote the screenplay, based on a novel by Krystal Sutherland) doesn’t go beyond superficial. Worse, the mumble-core-infused dialogue and emo-driven plot would have us believe that sex with the right guy can pull a damaged teenage girl from the depths of trauma and set her firmly on track for a happy life of healthy choices. Worse, Chemical Hearts is one of those stories where the non-white and/or non-straight best friends exist only as sassy props whose main purpose is cheering on the straight white leads. The casting provides the optics of inclusiveness, but it’s actually window dressing. As for those leads: When we first meet human sad-face emoji Grace Town (Lili Reinhart), she’s starting her senior year at a new school. When brooding, angst-riddled aspiring writer Henry (wait for it) Page (Austin Abrams) meets Grace, he becomes immediately obsessed with her. She’s endured trauma. He’s determined to fix/save her with his love. And indeed, Chemical Hearts shows that sex with a broody sensitive teenage boy can help fix a broken, gloomy Gus of a girl like Grace. I have further thoughts on that line of thinking. They are not fit for print.

Prime Video

Credits

Cast information not available at this time.

What others are saying

  • Now Playing

    By Film...

    By Theater...