Amazon’s Chemical Hearts is more than a movie, it’s more than teenagers falling in love. It’s about the moments that make us, the events that break us, and how we can come out stronger. As a teen, your senses are heightened, the power of love changes the chemicals in your brain that can have you desiring more. While this is just a chemical reaction, it feels real and when it ends it has the ability to crash our world. Everything becomes dark and life becomes empty.
For teenagers discovering love and navigating life for the first time, it can feel like the best and worst moments of their lives.
Based on the YA novel Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland, it tells the story of Henry Page (Austin Abrams), a teenage student who considers himself a hopeless romantic but has never fallen in love. He aspires to be the editor of the high school newspaper and lives happily focused on his studies to attend a good university until Grace Town (Lili Reinhart) enters his class. His new partner is not exactly the girl of his dreams, but little by little he falls in love with her when the two teenagers are chosen to edit the institute newspaper. However, Grace holding onto a tragic secret that can cause a devastating reaction.
Chemical Hearts is a profound, emotional, and necessary movie about grief, forgiveness, love, and death. It tells us, no matter how alone we feel you are not alone. Unlike other movies, it doesn’t look down on teenagers and consider them whiny or irrational. Instead, it speaks directly to them and their feelings.
Along with the main love story, Chemical Hearts also features a secondary same-sex, interracial romance between Cora (Coral Peña) and La (Kara Young), two students in Henry and Grace’s newspaper class who obviously like each other, but are both finding it difficult to make the first move.
The Koalition spoke to Kara Young about tackling the role, the importance of representation, and what all audiences can learn from the movie.
La is a free black woman and an artist. “The representation of queer black folk is just so important,” Young believes. “I think it is so epic to see in a movie like this. For La, loving herself is a political act. She’s always trying to get to the truth of something.”
“People are so hard on teenagers,” she continues. “It’s a time of incredible, confusing change, both physically and emotionally. And you’re thinking:‘Who am I? What am I doing in this world? What do I want? How can I live?’ Society is telling you to do one thing and maybe you’re feeling you want something else.”
“In one scene La talks about what we experience as we try to figure out how we want to live and who we want to be until our brains fully mature. All of the kids in this story, not just Grace and Henry, are going through that.”
Check out our full interview in the video above.