Chemical Hearts(Amazon Prime Video)
Starring Lili Reinhart, Austin Abrams
Directed by Richard Tanne
Rating: * 1/2 (1 and a half star)
Would you trust a love story whose protagonists are named Grace Town and Henry Page? What kind of manufactured names are these? Writer-director Richard Tanne(whose earlier film Southside With You was a corny but cute recreation of Michelle and Barack Obama’s courtship) thinks planting hackneyed tropes into a romantic story would instantly induce lushness into the proceedings.
But Chemical Hearts only proves that if love is blind than it can also be bland in the wrong hand. Director Tann pieces together a threadbare story of two dull highschool students who discover a common ground after an hour of cripplingly dull courtship and exchange of dialogues that go, ‘Please help me because this is my first time.’
That’s the young man speaking. After a while the emotionally and sexually more experienced heroine tells him not to try too hard. It isn’t working.
The same goes for the film which keeps pushing for passion. But comes up with zilch. The emotions seem like straws in the wind. Wispy and flimsy.The only saving Grace is Lili Reinhart who plays Grace. There is something about her face. Given better material, she can score points.
Besides a script that limps Grace has a problem .She was in a road accident that killed her boyfriend and left her limping on a walking stick. Besides chronic callowness Henry suffers from low selfesteem and pretension to literary tastes which Henry shares with the film’s writer who keeps dropping names like Pablo Neruda.
Neruda in this lowbrow trip to shudder and is like Tendulkar at a roadside cricket for under 12.
The sheer amateurishness of the presentation will drive you up the wall. What makes these people think we can actually bring ourselves to care about what happens to their precious love?
Somewhere after 45 minutes of boredom we are let into a big secret from Grace’s past.
“She loves someone else,” Henry blurts out to his therapist-sister who spends her time sobbing(that’s what you get when you become a part of a film as awful as this), or explaining to her brother(a Timothee Chalamet clone) that love is nothing bit chemical reactions. Chemical Hearts presumes we would instantly get interested in the central love story. Once we are introduced to the two protagonists (one troubled, the other troublesome) all the rest of the characters are painted into a hazy corner.
There is nothing here to hold our interest. Not even a sub-plot about a lesbian couple which plays out like a school boy’s fantasy of what a same-sex romance would like on screen.
Not appetizing nor tempting, simply exasperating. What a waste of time.