Netflix’s ‘Heartstopper’: Live Action Review

Heartstopper Announcement Photo – Credit:

Katie Wilson

Personally, I love when actors have a certain chemistry that makes their onscreen romance look real. In Heartstopper, the actors of Nick and Charlie have such affectionate chemistry, and your screen lights up when they’re on it. I caught myself involuntarily smiling at the screen multiple times while watching this show for the first time.
Heartstopper, the LGBTQ+, coming-of-age romance of two young boys. Nick, portrayed by Kit Connor, and Charlie, played by Joe Locke.

The story is about two groups of teenage boys, who attend the Truham Grammar school for boys in England–it was adapted from the Heartstopper comics and webcomics written by Alice Oseman. That description doesn’t do Heartstopper justice.

Oseman released the first graphic novel in October of 2018, and before Netflix released the live action adaptation, the series had sold over one million copies. While the series is targeted toward young adults, the novels and Netflix series have quite the following of adults. This is because many readers across the LGBTQ+ spectrum found themselves in the pages of the book. Heartstopper is the story they wish they’d had when they were teenagers, and it’s the story LGBTQ+ youth deserve today.

The amount of conflict in Heartstopper is jaw-dropping, considering when you’re done, it doesn’t seem as if there was even one negative thing that happened to Charlie and Nick. Though, that isn’t the case at all. Charlie is bullied at school after being outed when he was 14, and his mental health suffers from that. Nick, and his overwhelmingly relatable struggle with his sexuality, shines a whole new light on bisexuality that society needed.

Nick has a hard time coming to terms with his sexuality, let alone the internalized biphobia he has. He hasn’t thought about his sexuality much because of the heteronormative childhood most children have. The television realm in the 2000s and beyond doesn’t have much queer representation. Growing up, Nick didn’t see much of this on TV, so he didn’t have a reason to question his sexuality yet. Nick doesn’t know who he is, who he’s friends with, but what he’s sure of, is his crush on Charlie Spring.
Biphobia is defined as “dislike of or prejudice against bisexual people.” Although, from this definition, you don’t see the prejudice as a whole; what biphobia can look like. Biphobia comes in many different forms; whether it’s assuming that bisexuals are confused or indecisive about their sexuality, not wanting to date someone who is bisexual because you assume that they will eventually leave you for someone of another sex, or that they’re more likely to cheat on you because of their sexual orientation.

Heartstopper released to Netflix April 22, 2022, with fans counting down the seconds until it dropped. The eight episode series covers novels one and two–up to the last page of volume two. While fans are desperately seeking a season two, they’re excited and nervous for how volumes three and four will be portrayed–considering the strong themes written in the pages. I’ve written an in-detail review on Heartstopper Volume Four which you can read here.
Any type of subtle representation of the LGBTQ+ community goes a long way–but Heartstopper goes the extra mile with transgender actress Yasmin Finney as Elle Argent, and multiple characters in the LGBTQ+ community. Though, you would never know you’re watching a show with this much representation, considering it seems like quite the typical high school romance.

Seeing that thousands of people are streaming Heartstopper–makes me think that every stream is another person realizing that LGBTQ+ teens matter.