Chemical Hearts: The Bittersweet Ending Explained

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Chemical Hearts
Chemical Hearts, Image Source: Amazon

‘Chemical Hearts’ is a story of a teenager who falls in love for the first time, only to learn that it is not as magnanimous or romantic as shown in the movies. The film takes us through the journey of a boy and a girl who learn from their past experiences and change by the end of the school year. They also learn what it means to love and let go, and the bittersweet finale only makes their love story all the more relatable.

Plot Summary

Henry meets Grace after being offered to work as co-editors for the school newspaper. Their first meeting leaves an impression on Henry, and he becomes more engrossed in the character of isolated and detached Grace. As they kill more time together, he falls in love with her. But she has an unpleasant past that is not so easy to let go. While she tries to recover from her wounds, Henry discovers what follows after a heartbreak.

The Ending: Do Henry and Grace end up together?

Henry and Grace’s story started at a point where both of them were on two very different sentimental planes. Grace was just out of a horrific accident that took her boyfriend’s life, and Henry was yet to fall in love and experience the pain that comes with it. The differences in their perception of love is visible in the scene where they meet for the first time.

Grace recites a poem by Pablo Neruda, which centers around the depths of love. Henry recites the poem and falls in love with the concept of romance that he has read in books and heard in love songs. He feels that he had discovered his one true love who is Grace, similar to his parents, who found each other when they were in high school.

On the other hand, Grace has previously been through the phase of her life in which she lived her love story and endured the tragedy that ended it. She never came in terms with her loss, and despite all her tries to move on from her grief, she saw herself failing poorly. As we reach the end, we find both of them going through a drastic shift in their perception of each other and their own lives.

Chemical Hearts
Chemical Hearts
Image Source: Amazon

Grace reveals that she is trying to move forward in her life, and being with Henry grants her an opportunity to do that. However, later, both of them learn that it won’t be such an effortless task. Being in a new relationship doesn’t abruptly erase all the memories she had with Dom and the heartbreak she keeps on trying to fix.

They break up when Henry discovers how deeply rooted her love and grief is when he finds out that she is living in Dom’s home. She wears his clothes to feel close to him. She is so attached to him; she would never love Henry as much as he is in love with her.

Things begin to worsen when she doesn’t attend school one day and goes missing. Henry is terrified and tracks her down to the deserted building where she had taken him months before. He discovers her crying in the pond, wearing a white dress, the one that Grace said she thought she would wear when she and Dom would get married.

This is also when Henry discovers that her grief is far more profound than her love for Dom. She believes she is guilty for his death and has been attempting to make up for it somehow, in these past few months.

A New Start

Chemical Hearts
Chemical Hearts
Image Source: Amazon

After this event, Grace takes some time off and sees a therapist, while Henry tries to maintain his distance from her. He endures the heartache followed by their break up. In the school newspaper’s final issue, he pays homage to Grace by going back to the talk they’d had about teenage limbo and what it means to be stuck in an age where you are neither a proper adult nor a child anymore.

They meet again on the last day of school, where Grace tells him that she would be taking a year off to get better. She ends the conversation by slipping something into his pocket. When Henry was heartbroken over fighting for Grace’s love with Dom, he had visited his grave.

There, he sabotaged the poem that Grace and he had talked about when they’d first met. Grace found it later and salvaged sufficient bits to glue them back together. As an ode to their relationship, she puts it in Henry’s pocket, implying that even after being as broken as they might be in that moment, they can always be put back together.

A Final Note

Just because their story didn’t end all happy doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a love story. Just because they chose to separate their ways in the end, doesn’t imply that them being together ever didn’t mean anything. They have been a huge part of each other’s lives, and therefore, like Henry’s sister said, they will always be a part of each other.

Chemical Hearts
Chemical Hearts
Image Source: Amazon