CHEMICAL HEARTS – A Review By Gadi Elkon

Chemical Hearts is a coming-of-age drama that reminded me a lot of The Perks of Being a Wallflower but on heavier depressants.   Here is my review of the Amazon film starring and Executive Produced by Lili Reinhart.


Seventeen-year-old Henry Page (Austin Abrams) has never been in love. He fancies himself a romantic, but the kind of once-in-a-lifetime love he’s been hoping for just hasn’t happened yet. Then, on the first day of senior year, he meets transfer student Grace Town (Lili Reinhart) and it seems all that is about to change. When Grace and Henry are chosen to co-edit the school paper, he is immediately drawn to the mysterious newcomer. As he learns the heartbreaking secret that has changed her life, he finds himself falling in love with her — or at least the person he thinks she is.   CHEMICAL HEARTS 

Young actress Lili Reinhart fell in love with Krystal Sutherland’s novel, Our Chemical Hearts.  Reinhart approached Writer/Director Richard Tanne to sculpt a script version and the duo brought it to Sutherland’s attention.  The rest is history as they say.  This passion of bringing a property to life is nothing new in the industry but it should spotlight Reinhart’s eye for good material.  A young actress making moves to bring her career into focus through her choices is always a positive element.

Reinhart’s portrayal of Grace Town is rich in its emotional arc and does highlight the tremendous range of the actress.  Every scene she is in seems to have an aura surrounding her, granted a sorrowful aura.  As the plot unravels her tragic tale becomes more open and honest.  Her falling for Henry Page seems sweet if not a little unwarranted.   The Henry character is a confusing one.  Austin Abrams delivers a solid performance but if anyone seems out of place it is the Henry character.  To shy and lacking a real solid leadership quality to be a school’s newspaper editor really hinders the believability of the film.  You literally find yourself thinking any of the other kids writing for the paper would have made for a better editor.  The movie doesn’t linger to much on the newspaper world sadly and concentrates luckily on Reinhardt’s character’s emotional ebb and flow.  The romance element of the movie also seems a bit heavy handed and fueled by a quick edited sequence.  Though the handling of a more intimate scene does seem real and honest to the characters.  I did find myself saying yeah that’s a sweet moment but still found it a little unrealistic that this intelligent girl falls for this guy.

Chemical Hearts hits all the right notes for teen drama and is elevated anytime Reinhardt is on screen.  However, the movie does seem like another footnote in a large genre.  Richard Tanne should be given credit for his direction in keeping the film’s pacing and edit tight.  Overall a film that is emotionally stimulating but lacks the sustainability of a film like The Perks of Being a Wallflower.  Recommended but bring tissues and be prepared to forget most everything from the film but the amazing showcase of Lili Reinhardt.  Can’t wait to see what she has coming up next.


Directed by: Richard Tanne

Written by: Richard Tanne, (Book) Krystal Sutherland

Rated R

Selig Rating: 3.5 Stars

Running Time: 93 min

Drama / Romance

Digital Release: July 21st on Amazon Prime

Starring: Lili Reinhart, Austin Abrams, Sarah Jones, Adihir Kalyan, Kara Young, Coral Pena, C.J. Hoff


The Selig Rating Scale:

5 Stars – Excellent movie, well worth the price.

4 Stars – Good movie

3 Stars – OK movie

2 Stars – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.

1 Star – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn’t paid for it.


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