Alice Oscura – Featured Writer
Chemical Hearts is written, produced, and directed by Richard Tanne and is based on the novel of the same name by Krystal Sutherland. The movie was released by Amazon Studios on August 21 and is available on Prime Video.
Henry Page (Austin Abrams) is an aspiring writer that has been chosen as the editor of the high school newspaper. However to his surprise he is made to share the position with a newly transferred student, Grace Town (Lili Reinhart of CW’s Riverdale) who walks with a cane due to a physical disability. He is instantly attracted to her despite her sullenness which hides a deeply painful secret.
Chemical Hearts seems to be an allegory for how the teenage mind processes not only emotions but how they deal with certain situations. Scientists have noted that teens process information with the amygdala. In their brains, the connections between the emotional part of the brain and the decision-making center are still developing—and not always at the same rate. That is why when teens have overwhelming emotional input, they cannot explain later what they were thinking.
Remember when we were teenagers and how we would think that even the minutest thing that did not go our way, we would feel like that world was ending? Talk about the proverbial mountain out of a mole hill. Now take that and picture going through an extremely traumatic event. How would the teenage mind would process that? An influx of emotions that cannot be controlled. One would not even begin to be able to rationalise how they would begin the healing process especially with a judgement so clouded over just because your brain cannot literally keep up with itself.
This movie is brilliant in conveying those emotions through our main characters Henry and Grace. Henry is obviously a hopeless romantic and lacks the confidence in being able to verbally express what he is feeling. Grace, on the other hand, by having to hide her pain so deeply she ends up stifling her creativity of being able to write. The leads have excellent on-screen chemistry and the character development has good pacing.
The audience will start rooting for them to be together, but the movie also does a good job of getting another particularly important lesson across to the viewers. A person who has a lot of emotional baggage and issues that have never been addressed cannot genuinely be in a deep relationship with someone else. Remember, relationships are about a lot of compromising and giving of oneself. Grace’s character is broken in every sense of the word and Henry being so new to love would be looking at everything through rose colored lenses.
We also get a taste of other issues that a Teenager has to go through in the background like unrequited love from a crush, identity crisis, peer pressure, miscommunication with parents, teenage suicide and losing your virginity. They are all touched upon and add strength to the main story.
I am kind of sorry that I did not get to read the book before watching this movie because it is so Catcher in the Rye-ish. I know that this kind of movie would not appeal to the masses, but if you are a hopeless romantic like me and you appreciate the type of movie that shows us that love is not always a fairy tale, find the prince, get married and live happily ever after kind of deal, well this one is a very good choice. It is deeply rooted in reality and may even your eyes to problems that maybe occurring within your own family. Recognizing that someone needs professional help is the first step.
Do not forget that if you or anyone that you know needs help please do not be afraid to ask for it because it is better than going down that dark path alone.
Rating: 8 out of 10
Dark Alice has an old soul and a curious mind. I believe that anyone can be a hero and that the good guys should always win! I dislike cruelty to animals and think that they have far superior qualities to humans. My motto is there is no future without the past. I also have a weird penchant for Paranormal TV shows even though the slightest sound makes me jump.
I enjoy writing reviews and throwing in fun facts to pique the readers’ curiosity. My ultimate goal in life would be to become a published writer one day. You can find me as Dark Alice Reviews on Facebook, my Instagram is alice_oscura and my Twitter handle is @lise_veliz2. For more on me you can click here.