Everyone loves (or at least has seen) a good, old teen drama film. Films like The Fault in Our Stars, The Sun Is Also A Star and Five Feet Apart have flooded our screens and provided love stories that are exploding with drama for teens everywhere.
Chemical Hearts is another one of those teen drama films but provides a more realistic take and original storyline that strays away from ones we’ve seen before.
The film follows Henry (Austin Abrams), a high school senior who has never had anything interesting happen to him. Then Grace (Lili Reinhart), a transfer student, comes into his life. Henry instantly loves Grace but finds she has some heartbreaking secrets that might keep them apart.
Though there are a few supporting characters that definitely add to the story’s development, it’s Abrams and Reinhart who provide captivating performances as Henry and Grace. The honesty in the performances radiates throughout every scene. Reinhart is fiery and phenomenal, no doubt one of the best actresses in this generation. The credit can’t only go to Abrams and Reinhart, however, with such a powerful supporting cast as well.
It can be difficult to translate a book to a film, but Richard Tanne takes Krystal Sutherland’s Our Chemical Hearts and creates a beautifully heartbreaking script. The story continuously keeps you guessing and wondering what’s going to happen to the characters — but especially to Grace.
The story wouldn’t have translated nearly as well if the dialogue wasn’t as well done as it came out to be. What’s so crucial to a teen film is to keep the elements of realism in the dialogue while also making it interesting enough for a story. There’s a very fine line that films must teeter on, avoiding making the conversation too accurate to normalcy or else it’s boring, too over-the-top dramatic or comes off as too cheesy. Chemical Hearts is the perfect balance of either extreme.
The cinematography by Albert Salas and the editing by JC Bond pair fantastically together and with the screenplay. The costumes also have a great deal of detail, adding a lot to the story but especially to Grace’s story. Every aspect of production is incredibly well collaborated with one another.
Overall, Chemical Hearts is a step up from most teen dramas and provides not only a really well done film, but a great lesson to teens and people in general about life, grief and the limbo of teenage years.