The Beach House (2020) | SHUDDER
Chemical Hearts is a stellar experience with a great cast, immediate chemistry, and a story that feels as though it could happen around anyone.
Director Richard Tanne is a name I need to forever remember, that is if he is able to deliver more films like Chemical Hearts. Chemical Hearts could be anchored down as being “just another YA adaptation,” but it’s far more than just that, it’s a highly realistic portrayal of someone going through intense trauma and trying to move forward with their life. The film primarily takes you through the half of the pair who decides to develop feelings for the other, who’s suffering through mental trauma. It’s a fascinating take, and one that makes the character, as well as scenarios taking place, seem personally relatable. The entire film is wonderfully shot, creating a lot to digest when watching Chemical Hearts.
Based on Krystal Sutherlands novel, “Our Chemical Hearts,” scribe Richard Tanne, who wrote and directed the feature, provides an exquisite look at someone falling for someone who’s in the process of pushing through trauma. From beginning to end, I was sucked into the relatable nature of our lead characters. Their relationship felt genuine and the emotions conveyed felt truthful to how anyone (with a heart) would react.
ACTING | CHARACTERS | DIALOGUE:
Chemical Hearts is led by two characters played by actors who have such impeccable chemistry together that any other character is pushed aside. Lili Reinhart (Hustlers) plays Grace Town, a teenager who has just moved to a new school to start anew and get away from her past. Austin Abrams (Euphoria) is Henry Page, a writer for the school paper who has just been appointed Editor-In-Chief alongside newcomer Grace. After an initial decline from Grace to be a part of the paper, Henry and her hesitantly become friends as Grace’s mysterious past starts to unwind around Henry and their freshly established relationship. It’s safe to say I fell for these characters, and as a fan of Abrams beforehand, his character in Paper Towns easily being the best aspect, Chemical Hearts brought the emotion and the realism to the table.
VISUAL EFFECTS | MAKEUP | DESIGN:
..a story that feels as though it could happen around anyone.
This was my first encounter with Albert Salas, and his cinematography here really entranced me. While the film is placed within a small town setting, the scenes taking place near or within the water or woods were impeccably shot. If there was a downside to these wonderfully placed shots, it would be when the film is enclosed in a small room, which it is quite often, it can feel claustrophobic, which adds some more intensity to certain scenes, whether romantic or dramatic.
Chemical Hearts (2020) | PRIME VIDEO
MUSIC | SCORE | SOUND DESIGN:
Composer Stephen James Taylor has been in the business for decades, and yet I have yet to hear a score from the man. However, as an introduction to the composer, Chemical Hearts is a fine example of properly handling emotions without elevating them to an unnatural degree, which can happen occasionally with romantic themes. Chemical Hearts works on all levels, and somehow the scenes with very little score have the most impact; a certain bedroom scene comes to mind. Is it a score I would listen to at any given moment? No, however it is a perfectly suitable score for the topic at hand.
Chemical Hearts took possession of my heart from the very beginning and manipulated it so much that by the end, I couldn’t decide if the final moments were truly happy, hopeful, or upsetting. What remains certain is the desire to rewatch and relive this trial in love repeatedly.
Chemical Hearts is NOW Available to Stream on AMAZON PRIME VIDEO