In an effort to build a space for queer people like myself, every Sunday I’ll be posting interviews, opinion pieces, listicles, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx community since I am Latinx.) Welcome to Queerly Not Straight! Enjoy and leave a comment below if you have a suggestion for what I should cover next.
Not going to lie, starting this review of Heartstopper might be one of the hardest things I’ve ever written. Not because I hated the Netflix adaptation of Alice Oseman’s comic. No, far from it. I loved Heartstopper so much that I found myself unable to form words that properly describe how much I love this coming of age story with the love between two young men who are just figuring out where they belong in this big wide world. And maybe this review will help me understand but also why you, dear reader, should also watch this Netflix adaptation.
Coming of age stories are a dime a dozen. But Heartstopper made me fall in love from the very moment I was introduced to the two leads due to the actors, their story arcs, and the complexities of their characters. Let’s start there. Charlie, played by Joe Locke, is absolutely adorable, kind, weird, funny, and all the things I wish I had in a friend. And Nick, played by Kit Connor, is a golden retriever who is just trying to figure things out when Charlie comes into his life, opening up parts of him he never knew were possible.
When Charlie and Nick meet, the sparks are real. (Sometimes literally.) What is born is a joy that comes from being with someone who makes you feel like you can be yourself. And Netflix’s adaptation of Heartstopper is made even better by the fact that they managed to capture the sweet, goofy, and heartfelt core of the comic while making it their own; in essence making it accessible to anyone who maybe isn’t into comics but is here for some quality LGBTQ context.
And as a queer woman myself…I wish I had something like this growing up. I wish I had something like Heartstopper that made me feel giddy and like I have a stomach full of butterflies at seeing queer love on my screen. It would’ve made the world of a difference growing up and it makes me tear up thinking that there will be young LGBTQ people who will grow up with this. That’s why Oseman’s work matters and why you should watch this show from start to finish.
It’s also the reason why this show needs a second season. We need more of Charlie and Nick. And not just for the romance. We need them because we want to see young queer men going through the trials and tribulations of young love but also the sweet moments that make us grin like madmen because, “Omg, did you see that?! They almost held hands!” and other cheesy goodness. It’s just…if I felt all of these feelings in one season, imagine what we could do with more?
Then there’s the supporting cast, because we can’t forget about them in this review and they are a core reason why I loved Heartstopper so much. William Gao plays Tao Xu, Yasmin Finney plays Elle Argent, Tobie Donovan as Isaac, Corinna Brown as Tara Jones, and Kizzy Edgell as Darcy Olsson. They are the backbone of this show with their own complex storylines that don’t just disappear into the background of this show because they are essential parts of this show.
Put that all together and Netflix’s adaptation of Heartstopper is a beautiful and giddy ride with moments of real growth that leave you feeling happy, raw, and like your heart is about to explode out of your chest because you remember feeling like that as a teen. Because we all remember the confusion of being queer and having your first crush or trying to understand who we are as people. Heartstopper is the opportunity to give a voice to those who grew up queer and didn’t know the words to express it; the good parts and the bad.
Check out the official trailer for Heartstopper here:
Heartstopper premieres on April 22, 2022 on Netflix.
Queerly Not Straight posts every Sunday with opinion pieces, listicals, reviews, and more focused on the LGBT community (and occasionally about the Latinx community since I am Latinx.)