Young Hearts: Review

Young Hearts: Review

Young Hearts: Review. By Trent Neely.

This film centers on high freshman high school student Harper (Anjini Taneja Azhar) and sophomore Tilly (Quinn Liebling). They have known each other most of their lives as they are neighbors and Tilly is best friends with Harper’s older brother Adam (Alex Jarmon). The two themselves however have never really been very close. That all changes when the two begin dating. The remainder of the film focuses on how the relationship between the two evolves from acquaintances, to friends to romantically involved and how that change not only affects the two of them, but also their relationships with their friends, family, and classmates.

Writer/Director Sarah Sherman along with co-director Zacharay Ray Sherman smartly differentiate the film from others focused on highschool by setting both characters at the start of their high school years. Countless films have been made about teens dealing with romance while also being concerned with existential questions of which college to go to or what job they wish to pursue. Since Harper and Tilly have been in high school long enough to adjust to the environment but still have time before graduation, the film is able to restrict its focus to how the pair deal with their relationship and balance it with their friendships and other interests.



This is another strength of the script and direction. While Harper and Tilly’s relationship is obviously significant and impactful for them, the movie takes care to ensure that neither individual is fully defined by their feelings for the other. Harper throughout the film is shown to be thoughtful and passionate about gender equality. When rumors about her promiscuity begin to spread around the school, we the audience see that it not only offends her personally, but also as a woman because of the stigma that such rumors place on women.

Harper is also shown to be an active participant in the relationship, not purely subject to Tilly’s whims and desires. For his part, Tilly is shown to be conscious of Harper as a person and respectful of her during their courtship. When it comes to Tilly’s other interests, he is shown to be a drama student who loves to perform. In addition, he is torn between his feelings for Harper and the fact that by dating her, his relationship with Adam is frayed as a result.

The performances by the two leads bring these notions to life. Anjini Taneja Azhar and Quinn Liebling have great on-screen chemistry and bounce off each other well. Additionally, while both actors do a great job of conveying the emotional complexities stated above, they and the script also remember that these characters are teens. At the beginning of their relationship, the conversations are stiff, awkward, and center on things that teenagers actually talk about including what shows they watch and which classes and teachers they like. All of these aspects come through in the performances. Even when discussing the more heavy topics like romance, love and sex, the vocabulary and delivery continue to reflect the age of the characters.

When it comes to other technical aspects, they all seek to serve the characters and the performances. Martim Vian’s cinematography largely consists of long tracking shots as Harper and Tilly walk and talk. The camera feels like an unobtrusive observer that is purely documenting this relationship. When the camera does come closer, it’s to catch the significance of a particular emotional beat or to capture the nuance of a facial performance.

The editing by John-Michael Powell does a nice job of maintaining a pace that allows the viewer to get the sense that they are seeing a relationship go through various stages, while at the same time making sure that momentum is always maintained.

If you are looking for a film centered on highschoolers that features realistic performances and dialogue for that age group, and a romance that feels developed but doesn’t deprive either person involved of their individuality, watch this film if given the opportunity.    


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Trent loves watching and discussing films. Trent is a fan of character dramas and blockbusters. Some of his favorites include: The Breakfast Club, A Few Good Men and The Martian.

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