Heartstopper TV Show Review!

The New Coming of Age Teen Drama, Heartstopper is the LGBTQ+ Representation We Need!

Linnea Sundquist, Sandscript Author

The new hit Netflix original series, Heartstopper, has hit an overwhelming score of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes within a week. This teen romance starring Joe Locke and Kit Connor, is about a young teen boy, Charlie Spring, who starts to fall for his best friend, Nick Nelson. Based off of the graphic novel series by Alice Oseman, this series truly took my breath away. The writers of the show truly made this TV show so realistic and fresh for how teenagers really are today which was very relatable for me to watch and definitely for other viewers of the show too. Heartstopper is important to so many people and is a great coming of age romance story that all ages can experience. 

I really enjoyed how the writers represented sexuality among teenagers, especially the experience of coming out to your friends and family. Heartstopper displayed many different characters on the show who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community and their experiences coming out. My favorite example of this is how different Charlie and Nick’s coming out stories were. The writers did an excellent job with this aspect of the show and they wrote the script in such a realistic way that was truly a breath of fresh air than some of the other shows released on Netflix

 I would also like to add that Heartstopper does have aspects of homophobia throughout the show. Even though this can be hard to watch and upsetting at times, I think this was an important part to add to the story. In my opinion I feel like it’s important to show and spread awareness about bullying towards LGBTQ+ youth so people can better educate themselves around topics of homophobia and how that can affect people in such major ways. I also appreciated how Heartstopper didn’t only focus on the bullying and mainly focused on just Nick and Charlie having a cute love story. 

One of my favorite parts about the whole show was the chemistry between Joe Locke and Kit Connor. The acting done by both of them was incredible, both Locke and Connor were so similar to their characters in the graphic novel. Their relationship depicted throughout the episodes felt very relatable and the writing was absolutely realistic to how teenagers actually interact with one another. 

 Specifically, I really loved how they wrote Nick’s coming out scene to his mom played by Olivia Colman. Kit Connor did a fantastic job in this scene. This scene was one of the more iconic parts in the novel and was executed perfectly in the show. The sweetness and tenderness made this scene even more special to the show and Connor’s acting truly blew me away. He played this with such realistic and raw emotion that I actually teared-up by the end of it. Bisexuality isn’t represented enough throughout entertainment and I think having a bi character being shown to such a coming of age story will impact more bisexual stories to be released in the future. 

Another one of my favorite scenes was when Charlie is having an emotional conversation with his sister Tori, played by Jenny Walser. Once again this was one of the more emotional scenes of the show, but it was once again executed perfectly. Heartstopper was Locke’s first on screen performance and he truly did not disappoint. I loved reading about Charlie in the novels so seeing him being brought on screen was so heartwarming to witness. Joe Locke literally captures Charlie so well and I hope we continue to see him bringing this character to life as the show goes on. 

 Alice Oseman was the casting director for Heartstopper and I think this was a smart choice because this made the characters so much more accurate and made the acting more authentic. Especially the casting of some other characters like Elle, played by Yasmin Finney, and Tao, played by William Gao. Both Finney and Gao were so much like their characters from the novel. William Gao truly captured Tao’s sarcastic and witty personality and Yasmin Finney was a perfect Elle. I really appreciate that Oseman actually hired a trans woman to play Elle instead of a cis-gender female. I really think it’s important to show accurate representation within the transgender community since it can be so inaccurately represented in the media. Elle is one of my favorite characters from the books, so I truly thought Finney did a fantastic job with showing Elle’s kind and caring nature being brought to the screen. 

In the graphic novel, leaves are a recurring graphic shown throughout the books.  The show displayed animations of the leaves, lighting sparks or little hearts throughout the episodes. Some of my favorite examples of this is when Charlie sees Nick for the first time and the iconic Heartstopper leaves flutter across the screen. Or when lightning  bolts and sparks appear when two characters start to hold hands. I thought this was a great nod to the novel and created amazing tension between characters. 

Another one of my favorite visual aspects of the show was the way they showed the mood or tone of a certain episode through the weather. For example, if there is a particular happy episode then there will be a rainbow in the background of a shot. If there is a more emotional episode it is usually storming outside. I really appreciate how the Heartstopper demonstrated the tone or mood of the episode without even any dialogue present. 

Even though the visual aspects of Heartstopper are really good, the soundtrack is an even clearer way of describing the tone of the plot. The soundtrack has a range of artists from Baby Queen, Orla Gartland and Sunflower Bean. My personal favorite songs that are played during the season are Why Am I Like This and Moment in the Sun. The songs that were chosen to be a part of the show really reflect on how a character is feeling, and I love how they show that through music. 

I think another one of my favorite parts of the show was the themes of friendship and finding acceptance within yourself. Friendship is a big part of Heartstopper, especially finding the people who care and appreciate who you are. Finding the people who truly care about you is so important and seeing characters, not only figuring themselves out but also finding the people that bring out the best in them and not the worst was incredible to see.

Overall, Heartstopper was an incredible show to experience and also a very important show too. I think it is very important to show representation among the LGBTQ+ community since it isn’t represented in the media enough. The general point of Heartstopper was to create a safe place for teens to feel appreciated and loved which is one of the reasons this show is so special to me. We truly do need more queer stories shared through movies, TV shows, books etc because there are not enough. I hope this show opens a gate for more queer stories to be produced in more entertainment.