I like romance motion pictures, so after I heard Amazon Prime Video was releasing a new film starring Lili Reinhart and Austin Abrams, I used to be tremendous excited. Based mostly on the ebook by Krystal Sutherland, Chemical Hearts tells the story of Henry (Abrams) and Grace (Reinhart), two excessive schoolers who meet by means of coincidence and destiny throughout their senior yr. Henry, an aspiring author and journalist, falls for Grace virtually instantly, however these emotions aren’t all the time reciprocated the opposite approach round.
On a floor stage the film is satisfying, however there may be one enormous problem within the movie: Henry’s male savior complicated.
From the start, it is clear Grace is troubled, although it isn’t instantly evident why. She not often smiles, does not have interaction in conversations, and presents little perception into her life earlier than she transferred to Henry’s faculty. Because the film — and their relationship — progresses, we begin to perceive Grace’s previous increasingly more. She was in a automotive accident that killed her longterm boyfriend, Dom, and in addition to having survivor’s guilt and lacking him terribly, she believes she triggered the accident. Later, it is revealed Grace has an unstable relationship along with her mom, and lives with Dom’s dad and mom in his previous room.
The movie is advised largely although Henry’s perspective. In reality, we by no means see Grace exist exterior of Henry. The few occasions we do see her alone, Henry is following or spying on her from a distance — and sure, it is as creepy because it sounds. Whereas Grace is dealing with probably the most traumatic occasion of her life, Henry — determined for a romance like his dad and mom’ — struggles with getting her to like him.
With a lot of the display screen time dedicated to exploring Henry’s emotions in the direction of Grace, the film spins into a basic instance of a male character prioritizing his personal wants and believing their love can clear up all issues. Henry desires to repair Grace so she will be who he desires, quite than understanding the realities of her feelings.
One in every of Henry’s hobbies is kintsugi, the Japanese artwork of smashing and gluing ceramics again collectively. In a pivotal second through the movie, Grace tells him that she’s not like one in all his vases he can merely put again collectively and paint the cracks gold. For a cut up second, I believed this may very well be a chance for Henry to reevaluate his perceptions of affection and partnership. I puzzled if the movie was going to problem the notions of romantic expectations, changing Henry’s naive assumptions by mature selections. However, as quickly because the second got here, it appeared to slide away.
“If the objective was to unpack teenage heartbreak, loss, and confusion, the main target ought to have been Grace.”
I grew annoyed spending a lot time targeted on the character whose progress appeared rather more trivial. If the objective was to unpack teenage heartbreak, loss, and confusion, the main target ought to have been Grace. I can solely think about how a lot better the movie would have been if we acquired to grasp her demons with out the caveat of how Henry felt about them.
Navigating a devastating loss, residing in a room that is a fixed reminder of that ache, feeling responsible and confused for having emotions for somebody new, and never having a guardian or shut pal to show to, these are themes value diving into. There was a giant missed alternative to point out real struggles and the various methods these experiences can take over a particular person’s life.
By focusing so strongly on Henry’s view of the world, the filmmakers made one level clear: his want to save lots of and have Grace was extra necessary than her want for therapeutic. By the top of the movie, it is understood Grace has reckoned with the previous and is able to transfer ahead, however as viewers we do not actually understand how. She tells Henry that after commencement she’s taking a yr off from faculty and persevering with remedy, as he seems to be on heartbroken that their relationship did not work.
We by no means know precisely what modified for her, and at occasions it felt like as viewers we weren’t imagined to care that we did not have this info. It was as if her issues have been solely there as an impediment for the Henry-Grace love story, and never as a result of they really mattered.
I admired the filmmakers for attempting to discover the complexities of teenage feelings, as a lot as adults could shrug off youthful experiences, they do matter. However, I wished to really see Grace’s transformation by means of extra than simply Henry’s quest for love. The expansion she confirmed deserved to be extra than simply a bittersweet ending to their relationship.