Welcome to another edition of Book vs. Movie, book nerds!
Within a few days, I read Our Chemical Hearts by Krystal Sutherland and then watched the film adaptation on Amazon Prime. The movie being the reason I decided to bump up the book on my TBR list (that’s usually a good motivator, especially when the movie looks good or has actors I like). My review for the book went up a few days ago and I shared a short tweet reviewing the movie after watching it. I only have one thing to say about the movie adaptation of this book…
… It did not meet my expectations.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a decent movie. But compared to the book… you know.
While Lili Reinhart portrayed the role of Grace just as I imagined the character, the rest of the movie fell short. There wasn’t much to the friendships and family bonds that Henry had within the book – it was literally all about him and Grace. There was barely any of the warnings or comforts that his friends gave him in the novel… in fact, they were barely in it. I realize that movies have time constraints, but still… there could have been some way to incorporate those bonds because I feel they were essential to the story.
The portrayal of all the other characters – Henry, La, and Muz particularly – didn’t meet the expectations either. La and Muz mainly because we barely saw them, and Henry seems more like a loner than a kid with two close friends in the movie. While there are glimpses of Henry with his friends, the moments aren’t enough to really feel as though these are his best friends. However, Henry with Grace was just as he was with her in the book, and I found it interesting to see it in action how he deals with Grace’s unpredictable moments.
That leads me to mention that a main aspect of the story was changed and not even touched on, which was how Henry’s relationship/fascination with Grace was to the point where he was kind of obsessed. Or more like an addiction. He craved her presence and messages, and he began to ignore important things in his life like schoolwork and the newspaper deadlines. I thought this was a major aspect of the book, because it showed how Henry became chemically addicted to Grace, like a lot of us do when we love someone.
Back to Grace. Again, Grace was portrayed well in the movie and her story-line felt just as real in the film as it did in the book. You see a girl who’s been through a terrible tragedy and is broken, yet Henry sees her as someone to be fixed. He realizes he can’t, though. Honestly, it was refreshing to see a character that was a mess because she felt more real than any other character. A lot of us are a mess, and some of us can’t be fixed… or at least there isn’t an easy solution to healing. And that’s who Grace was… someone who needed to work through this stuff herself, not by having a band-aid love solution thrown at her.
Again, my overall opinion is that the book trumps the movie (it always will), but especially in this case because there was just a lot of the story that was missing and that felt essential to the growth of Henry and the story of his and Grace’s love.