CHEMICAL HEARTS*CUT TO THE CHASE*
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Alex
In narration, high school senior Henry Page (Austin Abrams) tells in narration how he has a pretty typical life and wants to be a writer, hoping to be the editor of the school paper. He is called to the school office by Mr. Sharma (Adhir Kalyan) and introduced to Grace Town (Lili Reinhart), a transfer student who walks with a cane. He says they are both great writers and would be a perfect editor-in-chief duo for the paper, but Grace says she doesn’t want to and leaves.
After the meeting, Henry misses his bus, so Grace offers to give him a ride home – she then admits she doesn’t like driving and lets Henry drive her car, and she ends up giving him her book of Neruda poems. Grace notes that Henry lives in a much nicer house than she does. At home, Henry’s family, adult older sister Suds (Sarah Jones), dad Toby (Bruce Altman), and mom Gloria (Meg Gibson) are all thrilled he got the editor job.
Mr. Sharma reveals to Henry that something changed Grace’s mind and she is joining the paper. He tells them they need to come up with a theme for the paper’s final issue. Grace tells Henry she’s taking an assistant editor position, and she will edit but will not write anything. Later, Henry talks to Grace about the poem he read – and again misses his bus. They ride home together again. Grace walks home, and Henry sees a man come and get the car to drive it home.
After again bringing Henry home, he asks her to hang out. She can’t at the time but makes plans for the evening – she comes back and takes Henry out through a long winding woodland path to an old cotton mill that shut down years ago. Inside is a pond with fish that Grace likes to feed. They wade into the water, and Grace asks Henry if he’s ever had a girlfriend, which he hasn’t. She reveals she did a lot of her physical therapy in a car after the car wreck she was in. When Henry asks her more questions, she says she has to get going and asks if he can find his way home.
At home, Henry glues together broken pottery, a Japanese art form that is a hobby of his. Suds comes home – she’s living at home after a horrible breakup with her boss at the hospital, and she cries and Henry comforts her. At the urging of some of his friends, Henry follows Grace after school to see where she goes every day. He watches as she picks flowers and goes to a cemetery, where she sits at a grave, leaves the flowers, and speaks to it. After she leaves, Henry looks and sees the name Dominic Sawyer. Henry googles him and discovers he was Grace’s boyfriend who was killed in the same accident she was injured in.
His friend Muz texts him that Grace was spotted doing something weird, so Henry goes to the high school where he sees Grace on the track trying to run but limping. She falls, screams, and beats her leg with her cane. The next day, Grace tells Henry her idea for the theme for the last issue – “teenage limbo”. Henry tells the paper staff they need to dig deep for real true stories, and Grace asks him to start. He opens up about a friend who committed suicide. Later, Henry asks Grace why she won’t write anymore, and she explains she was asked to write a eulogy and couldn’t find the words.
Henry and Grace spend more time together and bond. He invites her to a Halloween party and she says yes. He’s surprised after when she comes in to hang out and doesn’t go to the cemetery for once. They begin to kiss but when the song playing in Henry’s room is the song that plays in Grace’s car, she gets very upset and storms out. She confesses to him about Dominic and says it was their song. She kisses Henry but says she’s messed up and can’t do this, and that she’s not one of his vases.
Henry’s friends convince him begrudgingly to go to the Halloween party anyway where he smokes weed. He’s surprised to see Grace there – he brings her a drink. Meanwhile, Henry’s friend La (Kara Young) finally gets together with Cora (Coral Pena) the girl who had burned her before. Henry and Grace dance then eventually make out in Henry’s room. She takes off her costume and he sees her leg scars. He admits he’s never had sex before, and the two sleep together.
The next morning, Grace wakes up and begins crying, startling Henry, who leaves her a panicked voicemail. But she responds that she thought it was cute, and finally drives her car herself to come pick him up. She takes him Dominic’s memorial site, where she tells Henry she needed him to come with her for support. She puts her necklace Dominic gave her on the memorial, and tells Henry she wants to move on. She begins brightening up, finally eating with the school paper crew at lunch and fully dating Henry.
One day at home a different car is in Grace’s driveway – she tells Henry to stay outside and goes in. Shortly after, a woman runs out, gets in the car, and drives out in a hurry, backing over the garbage cans on the way out. Henry asks Grace if that was her mom but she says it doesn’t matter. When he presses her, she snaps back at him to stop trying to fix her. Grace doesn’t show up to school later, and Henry hears it’s the anniversary of the accident and a candlelight vigil is being held. Henry runs to her house in the rain, where a man named Martin lets him in. He lets Henry wait in her room – which Henry realizes is Dominic’s room.
Grace arrives and reveals the truth – she lives with Dominic’s family. She moved in a month before the accident to get away from her mom who was drinking and in bad shape. Henry sees that Grace went back for the necklace she left at his memorial, and that she wears Dominic’s clothes. Henry is angry and upset feeling that she’s leading him on and not moving on, and Grace says she’s giving him as much as she can and she can’t pretend to be better because he wants her to be. Henry tells her he loves her, but seeing all of the photos of Grace and Dominic all over, leaves dejected.
When he gets home, his parents try to talk to him but he tells them they don’t understand. Suds talks with him and he tells her the truth, and she explains how medically a breakup will feel like withdrawal, but that his body chemistry will adjust and go back to normal. He says he wishes he could take it all back, but Suds says he can’t – Grace is a part of him now. Henry goes to Dominic’s grave, takes the poem Grace had him read and burns it.
At school, Henry gets a text from Martin that Grace is missing. Henry races to the secret pond and finds Grace sobbing in the water. She calls Henry Dominic and says over and over that it should have been her, that the accident was her fault and she shouldn’t have been teasing him she just wanted to make him laugh. Henry says it’s okay and hugs her. She seems to snap out of it, realizing it’s Henry, and she tells him that when the crash happened her last thought was “shit”, it wasn’t even about Dom, and she wonders if that makes her a bad person. He assures her it doesn’t. She asks what Dom’s last thought was, and Henry says it was of her.
Grace takes a collection of her Dominic belongings and drops them into the pond, then strips her dress off, explaining she was going to marry Dominic in it, and Henry takes her home. At school, Mr. Sharma tells the paper that Grace is taking time off and when she comes back will not be returning to the paper. Grace eventually returns to school but he stays away from her. For his final essay for the paper, Henry says that every person has felt the loneliness and scariness of being a teenager. He says that scars are not a sign of what has been broken, but rather what has been created.
On the last day of school, Grace and Henry finally talk about their future plans. He’s going to Bennington, and she’s taking a year off to continue therapy. She says she needs to find her words again, and he assures her she will. She tells him he’s extraordinary and kisses him on the cheek, and they hug goodbye – she slips something into his pocket. He checks his pocket and finds the poem he burned put back together, exactly like he does with his vases. He leaves school, missing the bus, but his friends ditch the bus to walk home with him one last time.
Henry Page (Austin Abrams) is a high school senior who falls for new transfer Grace Town (Lili Reinhart), who walks with a cane after being in a horrible car wreck that killed her boyfriend Dominic and crippled her. They begin a romance and try to date but face problems because Grace hasn't totally gotten over Dominic and the trauma of the accident and can't really open up to him. She eventually has a full breakdown and leaves school and their relationship ends. She returns but they don't resume dating, but on the last day of school have a heartfelt goodbye where they convey how much they've meant to each other.