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Chemical Hearts Movie Review – Teenage Angst Explored

Is your life a matter of messed up teen chemistry?

Reviewed by on Aug 20, 2020
Rating: 3 Star Rating

Kidzworld watched Chemical Hearts a teen romance based on the novel. What if you fell for a very emotionally unstable person? Do they take you down with them or do you learn from the experience?

Warning:  This film is rated R (for language, sexuality, and teen drug use) but we found very little of this in the movie.

Chemical Hearts is about Henry Page (Austin Abrams), a teen student who would like to fall in love but never has. He applies to be editor of the high school paper his senior year and concentrates on grades and getting into a cool college. Enter Grace Town (Lili Reinhart) who transfers from a near-by school. The two are made co-editors of the paper. Henry soon gets that Grace is very withdrawn and weird but he falls for her and hopes he can save her from her secretive, dark past. Can this couple survive?

Henry is attracted to strange GraceHenry is attracted to strange GraceCourtesy of Amazon Studios

Meeting Grace

Henry wants to edit the school newspaper but realizes he has nothing interesting to say. When Grace transfers from another school, the advisor thinks the two would make great co-editors. She is sullen, withdrawn and, at first says “no” and later agrees but refuses to write anything. She will only edit. When Henry misses his bus home, Grace gives him a ride but prefers to walk most of the time although she limps and uses a cane. Henry can’t figure her out but he is very intrigued with her. She gives him a book of poems she likes.

Henry misses his bus to get to know GraceHenry misses his bus to get to know GraceCourtesy of Amazon Studios

Bring Bread

They talk about the poems and she asks him to meet her and “bring bread”. The destination in the woods is an old factory where an indoor pond has formed. It is full of colorful fish! Thus, the bread snack for them.  He has written a poem about her. He admits he has never had a girlfriend or boyfriend. She admits that she was injured nine months before in a car wreck. That’s all she will say. At home, Henry’s older sister has a broken heart. He tries to help. At a meeting of the paper staff, Grace doesn’t contribute. Everyone wonders why.

Henry and Grace work together on the paperHenry and Grace work together on the paperCourtesy of Amazon Studios

The Grave

Curious, Henry follows Grace one evening. She goes to the cemetery with flowers and sits at a grave. It is a guy who was seventeen when he died. Dominic Smith. Henry looks up the name and learns that he was killed in a car wreck and his passenger was badly injured. Was it her? Dominic went to her old school. Henry follows her again and finds her trying to run on the school track. She falls and bursts into tears. Meeting at the library, Grace and Henry discuss subject matter for the final school paper of the year. She suggests teen suicide or teen angst in general, what you deal with in your teens. What if you can’t get over losing a person you love? Teens need to talk about all their “s**t”. Call the issue “Teenaged Limbo”. Henry begins to figure Grace out.

Grace takes a flower to her boyfriend's graveGrace takes a flower to her boyfriend's graveCourtesy of Amazon Studios


Grace admits that someone close to her died. She was supposed to write a eulogy but couldn’t put words together for it. That’s why she stopped writing. Henry can’t really say what he means and she can’t write it. After refusing several dates, Grace agrees to go to a Halloween party with Henry. She comes to his house and meets his family. She kisses him but a song he plays badly upsets her and she hurries away. She admits it was their song, her and Dom’s. He died and her knee was destroyed. She used to be a track star at her old school. They kiss again but she runs saying she is totally f-ed up.

Henry wonders about Grace's limpHenry wonders about Grace's limpCourtesy of Amazon Studios

The Party

He goes to the Halloween party without her and gets wasted. She shows up looking hot and admits she is totally confused now. One of the girls on the paper admits to another girl that she loves her. After the party Grace and Henry make love. First time for him. Afterwards she doesn’t answer his texts, freaking him out. She picks him up and takes him to her dead boyfriend’s memorial, a special place by the river where she talks more about their relationship. Henry and Grace become a couple, hugging and kissing at school.

Is Grace also attracted to Henry?Is Grace also attracted to Henry?Courtesy of Amazon Studios

More Truths

Grace doesn’t come to school in order to attend the one year memorial for her dead boyfriend. Henry goes to her house only to learn that the man and woman there are not her parents but Dominic’s!  Grace’s mom was a drunk so she moved in with Dom right before the wreck. She actually sleeps in his old room, just as he left it. This all seems really sick to Henry. No wonder she can’t leave the past behind.

Can Henry exist without Grace?Can Henry exist without Grace?Courtesy of Amazon Studios


Senior year is almost over. Will Henry and Grace stay a couple or go their separate ways? Can Grace ever get over losing her boyfriend and her injury? Can Henry go on with his life without her?

Wrapping Up

Chemical Hearts is a well-acted film that is basically the story of a tortured young woman and the unfortunate guy who loves her. All the suffering is chalked up to teen hormones (chemicals) that make everything all the more intense…both love and loss. I’m sure there are those of you who can relate to this.

Henry at schoolHenry at schoolCourtesy of Amazon Studios

The pace of the film is super slow, especially the first half so younger kids might not want to hang in for the more emotional 2nd half. A message that teens need to talk about their pain and not bottle it up so much seems obvious. Don’t you know people who just bottle things up until they explode?

Henry with some of the newspaper staffHenry with some of the newspaper staffCourtesy of Amazon Studios

This dysfunctional romance is entertaining, frustrating and thought-provoking but attempts at side-stories about a sister going through a break-up and a teen Lesbian couple trying to connect just seem distractions that don’t go anywhere.

Chemical Hearts is worth a watch for teens at least who might relate to the relationship torments. The R rating doesn’t seem deserved since there is only one scene of drugs at a party and one hooking up scene that doesn’t show anything… We award three stars.

Chemical Hearts Movie Review: 3

Chemical Hearts Movie Review – Teenage Angst ExploredCourtesy of Amazon Studios

See Chemical Hearts on Amazon Prime started August 21st

Can You Relate?

Have you liked someone who can’t get over their ex? Have you ever lost someone and become depressed? Do you just think tween and teen relationships are too much to handle? Talk it up here or blog on your Kidzworld profile page!