Chemical Hearts Movie Review Rating: 3/5 Stars (Three stars)
Star Cast: Lili Reinhart, Austin Abrams
Director: Richard Tanne
What’s Good: The relatability. Most of us are messed up in our own ways, but there’s always a hope of light. It’s the ‘limbo’ we need to somehow survive.
What’s Bad: The initial pace. If you’re someone who judges a film on the basis of its initial 15-20 mins, I’m not sure if you will be equally keen to continue.
Loo Break: Again, initially you can. But once the movie picks up its pace, dare you!
Watch or Not?: Undoubtedly, it’s worth ‘a’ watch. Repeat value? I’m not sure.
Henry Page (Austin Abrams) is a usual high school teenager. He’s really good with scribbling his words. But he’s waiting for something ‘remarkable’ to happen to his life that he would pen down. You could say he’s content with his life, but love, it’s something that we all seek for. As for Henry, he hasn’t dated a single person in his life yet.
On the other hand, we have Grace Town, played by Lili Reinhart. She has just transferred from the East River. Grace appears to be an introvert until you realize there’s a lot that she is hiding. There’s also a hidden mystery behind how she suffered disability in one of her legs and her messed up behaviour.
With both being selected as the editor-in-chief – let’s see how successfully they create a magazine issue of the year. Also, how they manage to fill the empty spaces in each other’s lives.
Chemical Hearts Movie Review: Script Analysis
The film has been based on Krystal Sutherland’s ‘Our Chemical Hearts.’ Might sound disappointing, but I haven’t read the original, so would refrain from drawing any kind of comparisons.
As for Chemical Hearts, it has been written, produced as well as directed by Richard Tanne. Of course, there’s an initial momentum that’s been an effort to create but somehow it fails to keep you hooked. You could miss a scene or two, and that won’t create much of a difference.
The dialogues get perfectly intense where they have too. You feel the melancholy, the helplessness and sorrow and the script has a huge part to play it in, apart from the acting chops. There are metaphors used at places and I couldn’t help but embrace. There was this moment where you see the characters seeking for a change. In the background, you see the autumn leaves falling from the tree as the season changes. Credits, Albert Salas, the photographer who’s too good at his work! Similar other moments really explain the intensity of Richard’s deep thoughts.
Both Henry Page and Grace Town have their own notable character arcs. There will be questions about their behaviours, but with time, Richard leaves nothing unanswered. Chemical Hearts, in the periphery, also tries to address subjects like homosexuality and the fear across it. It’s a tiny part but a beautiful portrayal.
Chemical Hearts Movie Review: Star Performance
Lili Reinhart doesn’t let you get your eyes off her. When she’s a wreck, you empathise with her. Similarly, when she’s happy or sensuous, you feel her in and out. I began watching her since Riverdale, and cannot help but appreciate how marvellous her growth has been as an actor. Even if she’s not the only lead, she manages to make the screen all about her. Not to forget, Lili is a co-producer too and she clearly knows the value of each penny, so she makes it worthy enough.
Austin Abrams is good too. He underplays as required for his character. However, there’s this one space all for himself to rise and shine. Austin lives up to the expectations but I wish the impact could have been a little more intense.
Sarah Jones (Sadie- Henry’s sister) delivers a promising act. You’ll understand all about the ‘Chemical Hearts’ from her. She’s the wingman in the movie but has her own struggles that make a worthy part.
Rest of the cast members including Adhir Kalyan, Bruce Altman, Kara Young and others justify their roles.
Chemical Hearts Movie Review: Direction, Music
Richard Tanne knows his characters really well. He’s done deep research into today’s youth and knows how they feel, what they want to hear and what will comfort them. He revolves his characters around the ‘teenage limbo’ and ensures that the ending gets the resolution that they’re seeking for.
The first thing I did after finish the movie, was to search for the jukebox. Perfectly synchronized with the theme and the screenplay, Stephen Taylor James provides soothing music. My favourite is undoubtedly ‘Take Care’ by Beach House. Still waiting for the makers to release the jukebox, so I could legit download some of the songs.
Chemical Hearts Movie Review: The Last Word
All said and done, Teenage is not easy. Most of us have been broken at most points. And obviously it isn’t easy as a ‘broken vase’, our hearts to mend again. But it’s the unlocked doors we need to reach out for. Once the ‘teenage limbo’ is over, it’s all going to be worth it. Lili Reinhart explains exactly this and we need to listen her out before most giving up on our flaws or loneliness.
Chemical Hearts Trailer
Chemical Hearts releases on 21st August, 2020.
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