Henry’s Savior Complex in Chemical Hearts Makes the Movie Hard to Watch

Watch out! This post contains spoilers.

I love romance movies, so when I heard Amazon Prime Video was releasing a new movie starring Lili Reinhart and Austin Abrams, I was super excited. Based on the book by Krystal Sutherland, Chemical Hearts tells the story of Henry (Abrams) and Grace (Reinhart), two high schoolers who meet through coincidence and fate during their senior year. Henry, an aspiring writer and journalist, falls for Grace almost immediately, but those feelings aren’t always reciprocated the other way around.

On a surface level the movie is enjoyable, but there is one huge issue in the film: Henry’s male savior complex.

From the beginning, it’s clear Grace is troubled, though it’s not immediately evident why. She rarely smiles, doesn’t engage in conversations, and offers little insight into her life before she transferred to Henry’s school. As the movie — and their relationship — progresses, we start to understand Grace’s past more and more. She was in a car accident that killed her longterm boyfriend, Dom, and besides having survivor’s guilt and missing him terribly, she believes she caused the accident. Later, it’s revealed Grace has an unstable relationship with her mother, and lives with Dom’s parents in his old room.

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