Thursday, August 20, 2020

Chemical Hearts - Movie Review

The Movie: Chemical Hearts

The Director: Richard Tanne

The Cast: Lili Reinhart, Austin Abrams, Sarah Jones, Adhir Kalyan, Kara Young, Coral Peña, Shannon Walsh, Bruce Altman, Meg Gibson, Adhir Kalyan

The Story: A high school transfer student finds a new passion when she begins to work on the school's newspaper.

The Review:
Lili Reinhart produced and stars in this movie which is adapted from Our Chemical Hearts, a young adult novel written by Krystal Sutherland. This story is definitely a departure for Reinhart although a very welcome one as she shows more of a range and depth in her performance as Grace than I have seen from her before as she portrays a character who is severely damaged emotionally and traumatized both mentally and physically. Austin Abrams is also on board as Henry although in a role more typical of his body of work although we do get more than the standard awkward teenager the character might suggest.

The movie didn't blow me away by any means, the story is pretty standard although it is a lot more dramatic and emotionally hard hitting than similar fare so it definitely holds an advantage there. We learn pretty quickly that Grace is about as far from high school royalty is could possibly be although there are hints and layers to the character that suggest she was once at the top of the pecking order and admired many. Henry on the other hand is the typical high school boy yearning for love although once he is paired up with Grace, we begin to see the young man he is slowly becoming.

Both characters are very well written and the performances are just as strong and the two actors are always worth checking out so I would say that is the primary reason you would want to watch this movie. Outside of their relationship and the ups and down that come with it, there really isn't much going on in the story. There's a subplot of the two being part of the high school newspaper team that is tasked with coming up with a theme and finale both to the school year and to their respective careers as high school students. This basically gives a landing spot and room for friends to be loosely involved with the story without really affecting the outcome.
The Verdict:
Chemical Hearts is a solid entry into the volumes of young adult, coming of age movies that are out there although it definitely takes a deeper dive into dealing with trauma and the emotional and mental damage that comes along with it. Not your average high school love story and right now we need things to be a little more than average and this one delivers.

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