‘Chemical Hearts’ Captures the Tragedy of Teenage Love

Lili Reinhart and Austin Abram star in a moving new romance film titled 'Chemical Hearts'. Photo Courtesy of @chemicalhearts

Photo By @chemicalhearts

Lili Reinhart and Austin Abram star in a moving new romance film titled 'Chemical Hearts'. Photo Courtesy of @chemicalhearts

By Arushi Sharma, Reporter

Chemical Hearts is a stunning and raw romance movie about two teenagers who fall in love, but one has a heartbreaking secret. Based on the book Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland, the film was released on August 21, 2020. It follows the rocky love story of Grace Town (Lili Reinhart) and Henry Page (Austin Abrams), two teenagers who meet their senior year as co-editors for their school’s newspaper. Grace is a transfer student from another school with a heart-wrenching backstory, and Henry is a romantic with no other character-defining traits, leaving him a clean slate.

This movie has a 60% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but I believe it deserves more, because it leaves such a lasting impression on  viewers. It touches on a lot of sensitive and critical topics as well, such as suicide, death of a loved one, disability, and the true meaning of being a teenager. It does an amazing job of portraying the characters as ones going through their teenage years, and it brings light on a lot of struggles that come with teenagehood.

Throughout the movie, there are a lot recurring themes and metaphors as well, which you really have to think about to understand. The main character, Henry, has an odd hobby of breaking his vases, gluing the broken pieces together, and painting the cracks with gold paint. This is a metaphor for the fact that while you may be able to fix a broken person, the scars will always remain, and instead of trying to conceal them, you should show them off. A climactic moment between Henry and Grace is when Grace runs away from him screaming, “I’m not one of your vases!” Scars are a very meaningful topic in this movie, because Grace has a lot of them, mentally and physically. She’s fighting the biggest battle internally, against herself, not being able to move on from her tragedy, which is revealed slowly, in parts throughout the storyline.

A phrase brought up a lot is teenage limbo; being somewhere between a kid and an adult, and the world tells you to be mature and express yourself, but the minute you do, it shuts you down. I think that’s an incredible way to put it, because no one takes you seriously as a teenager, because you aren’t an adult, but you have too many responsibilities and expectations to act like a child. This is a reason why your teenage years can be some of your best and worst ones. An interesting quote from this movie that really makes you think about the world differently is, “Adults are just scarred kids who were lucky enough to make it out of limbo alive.” Each and every adult used to be a teenager, and each one dealt with the unique feelings that come with being one. I think Chemical Hearts is a beautifully written movie, and it has an even better message. It teaches us that scars aren’t reminders of what’s been broken, but rather of what’s been created. We tend to think of scars as ugly or imperfect, as things we want to hide or forget, but they never go away. Each one tells a story, something that makes you the person that you are, and no two scars will ever be the same.