Movie Review: Chemical Hearts

When a person has been through a traumatic event – the plot of the new Amazon Prime streaming film “Chemical Hearts”, a severe car accident – the worst thing you can say is “get over it”. Traumatic events in any person’s life heal in proportion to the level of trauma, and that person’s ability to rationalize and slowly set it aside over a defined period of time. There is no speeding up this process, and in many cases some people never are able to get past the traumatic event. The famous phrase “Time Heals All Wounds” is just not true in every case.

Chemical Hearts is about a young woman, Grace Towns, who is in high school and was a passenger in a car with her boyfriend. One day the car swerves into some rocks and her boyfriend is killed. Grace receives a severe leg injury that requires a cane for her to walk. This is an example of a life trauma that nobody will get over quickly. Then add the guilt of “why did I live” and “if we had only done this instead” – that are typical thoughts for anyone who has been through something as traumatic as a car accident where someone is killed.

Through the high school newspaper, Grace meets Henry Page, a fellow student and member of the newspaper. Over time, Grace and Henry get involved in a very complex relationship that includes Grace reliving the accident and her guilt over still being alive and becoming involved with someone else. The plot of this teenage drama is different than any other similar movies I have seen in the past and I thought the complex relationship drama was well done and well acted.

I thought the acting in this film was excellent, with Lili Reinhart as Grace and Austin Abrams has Henry. All of the other actors were very good in their roles throughout this film, even though one side story about two lesbian students seemed more like “2 hour filler”, than something that should have been included in the screenplay.  I have been mostly impressed with the quality of originally developed movies with both Amazon and Netflix over the years. 

The Rotten Tomatoes rating for this movie at only 57% is completely wrong and the audience rating of 86% is a bit too high. My rating is around 75% for the solid story and acting and I do recommend this movie. 

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