Chemical Hearts – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Chemical Hearts – Thesis of a Romance: The Senior Years

The moments that make us, it is something that makes me think of those times.  A reminiscing of things, a person will always live those memories that are proclaimed as unforgettable.  The heart of a story varies, but when one looks back at early romances, it brings about wonder of those teenage years.  In this review, I look at a coming-of-age story that puts a window on those high school memories.  An endearment through the familiar, Chemical Hearts is a journey that showcases what it is like to fall in love and apart in a teenage romance.

Henry Page (Austin Abrams) sees himself as a romantic, even though he has never had a girlfriend.  Heading into his senior year, his chance comes in meeting Grace Town (Lili Reinhart).  As the two embark on their last year in high school, they come together to find what is truly their purpose in their own hearts.  Being an adaptation of the novel ‘Our Chemical Hearts’, it is a script that is built around typical elements found in any coming-of-age/teenage drama story.  By laying a foundation of familiarity, it allows for the direction to create a relatable thread through simple storytelling.  The main character is Henry Page, a senior and editor for a high school newspaper.  He is a boy that is gifted at writing but feels something missing from his own ‘romantic’ feelings.  As the audience is given explanation through ‘voice-over’ narration, the story leads into an endearing mark upon this common aspect (of teenage life).  This simple notion of letting the character live ‘as is’ allows for levity with the themes of adolescents and young romance.  The mixture of themes is grounded within characterization of the moment, through the eyes of Page.  Having never experienced any kind of relationship, convenient plot points brings him into contact with Grace Town.  A transfer student, they begin working together for the school’s newspaper.  As their friendship grows, it is built through general conversation.  It is the typical ‘guy meets girl’ scenario built through raw dialogue.  This leveling of simplicity showcases a realism that would have been ruined through accentuated dramatic sequences.  The feelings that grow between the two are reflective of a real relationship (for the audience).  The conversations lean into both their purpose and past, bringing subtle endearment to the fragile balance of maturity and innocence.   You see some sort of personal distraught, but it is driven by different complexion of the unknown.  As their relationship builds, it leads to revelations that rock them to their core. 

As the story moves into the latter part (of their senior year), it becomes a reflection of consequences.   As Page starts to find something that adheres to the common ‘hopelessly romantic’ archetype, it evolves into folly of circumstances that reveals Town’s past.  As the two embark through a string of high and low teenage drama sequences, the moments become more obvious to a fault.  Even when plot elements play it safe, there is still a fragility that comes with lostness and hope.  This leads to a scene of predicable melodrama that leads into a climax of the typical fade away voice over.  Chemical Hearts is a story that blends the familiar to create a endearing experience.  Even if you have seen this before, the strong characters will keep you through the end.  If you are a fan of coming-of-age or teenage dramas, this is one for you.  It is available on Amazon Prime, but it would be a fun time at the theaters for the right price.   

Full Score – 3 out of 5 (Theater Discount)

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