“Chemical Hearts” is a one-note wonder, making me wonder why I sat through it. Based on the novel by Krystal Sutherland, the elusive yet extraordinarily talented Grace Town (Lili Reinhart) transfers midway through senior year to a new school. Henry (Austin Abrams) is immediately smitten with her, finding her mystery intriguing while he attempts to figure out his newly discovered feelings of love for her.
This is Henry’s story, told from his point of view. He shares with us his innermost thoughts, fears, and feelings while we can only guess what Grace is hiding beneath her dark exterior. Wow. After raising two teens and being team mom for literally hundreds of teens throughout the years, I really wonder how the writer came up with this dialogue ? What teen ever ponders life to the extent with the wisdom these two “kids” have? And we see almost no change or growth in either character which means no true emotional depth is exhibited by either character. This is incredibly dull as we watch Grace sulk and Henry strive to understand her. The most interesting aspect is when Henry’s older sister, a neurology intern, attempts to explain the chemistry of the brain during trauma and elation.
The unbelievable dialogue paired with a story arc that doesn’t come off of the baseline and actors who graduated from high school nearly a decade ago adds to the disingenuousness of the film. “Chemical Hearts” flatlines on all levels of storytelling.