Heartstopper (2022) review: Delightful queer rom-com is exactly what the world needs

‘Heartstopper’ is a romantic comedy series that follows the relationship between Charlie, a shy gay boy, and Nick, the school’s rugby star. It is now streaming on Netflix.

Story

Charlie Spring (Joe Locke) is infatuated with his school’s rugby star, Nick Nelson (Kit Connor). The two bump into each other frequently and become friends.

Unsure whether he’s straight or gay, Charlie doesn’t make a move. Nick is a nice person, unlike his friends from the rugby team.

His best friends, Tao (William Gao), Elle (Yasmin Finney) and Isaac (Tobie Donovan), are worried about him since Nick’s friends are known to be bullies.

Tao, especially, is protective of Charlie as he believes Nick is the same as his friends and would do anything to prevent him from getting hurt.

Performances

Each and every cast member has been cherry-picked for their character and it shows in the way the entire narrative seems so natural.

Joe Locke makes his debut with the series and excels as the shy, gay boy who is smitten with the school jock.

He doesn’t miss a single beat in the entire series, completely blending into his character. Viewers are bound to find him lovable.

Kit Connor gives a charming performance as the rugby star of the school. Nick Nelson is genuinely a good person, and Kir makes the character likable.

William Gao and Yasmin Finney are tailor-made for their characters. And so are Corinna Brown and Kizzy Edgell, who play Elle’s friends Tara and Darcy, respectively.

Delightful cameos by Jenny Walser, as Charlie’s sister Tori, and Olivia Colman, as his mother, are the cherry on top.

Positives

As a romantic comedy, the show is authentically endearing to watch. You can’t help but root for the lead pair to end up together. Director Euros Lyn, and writer Alice Osemon, who also wrote the webcomic that the show is adapted from, get the representation spot on.

Age-old stereotypes are completely squashed, such as gay boys cannot run fast, or that masculine males can’t possibly be gay.

The bullying and frustration of queer kids in school are depicted in a realistic manner. Charlie feels like he’s used to the bullying which is, tragically, how most outcasts feel at this age.

Nick is actually a nice person. You kind of expect him to mess up at some point, but he only does so during the Imogen episode but is honest with Charlie straight away. He’s just figuring out his sexuality, and there’s no blaming for that.

The likability of the entire cast and characters goes a long way to keep you hooked throughout the eight episodes.

Spot on throughout, the music elevates each and every scene where it’s efficiently placed. The effects will also appeal to a younger audience.

The portrayal doesn’t stop at a male gay couple. It also shows a lesbian couple, as well as hints of romance between a heterosexual male, Tao, and a Trans character, Elle.

This kind of normalized treatment is what queer children need to see growing up. How many rom-coms have you seen with the typical heterosexual couples? Yes, too many.

There were even tweets where people from the LGBTQ group used the conversation between Nick and his mother to come out to their parents. Now, doesn’t that just fill your heart up?

Negatives

For all that’s going for it, the plot is too uncomplicated and the conflicts are not urgent enough. The premise is just a tad bit thin.

Verdict

Heartstopper is simply one of the most endearing shows on streaming, and no matter who you are, it’s a must-watch to understand how the world should work, and not how many have been led to believe it does.

Rating: 4/5


Also Read: Heartstopper (2022) summary and ending explained