Unpretentious love in Heartstopper, on Netflix

Netflix’s Heartstopper is aptly named. This heart-stopping and compelling love story takes you on a journey, it immerses you in a world grounded in reality and creates a powerful escape, something we all need to experience in our lives. It is romantic yet realistic, and speaks truth to the challenges of love and self-acceptance for young and old alike; Not just for LGBTQ+ individuals, but for all of us as we navigate our feelings, and emotions. This series addresses complex topics in an appropriate and respectful way. Unpretentious displays of affection demonstrate an honest and responsible approach to love. All while holding true to the social complexity facing queer love in the 21st century.

Charlie (Joe Locke) is in a secret relationship with Ben (Sebastian Croft) that isn’t going anywhere and is arguably unhealthy for him. He then meets Nick (Kit Connor) and develops a crush on him. Nick is a popular rugby player who Charlie believes to be straight.

The series takes you on a journey with Charlie and his friends Tao (William Gao), Isaac (Tobie Donovan), and Elle (Yasmin Finney).

We watch as Nick discovers himself, on his own journey of self-acceptance and finds support from his mother Sarah (Academy Award winner, and BAFTA recipient Olivia Colman)

This series is binge-worthy and will captivate you in more ways than I can articulate (I was and still am speechless). You don’t have to be gay or bi (or any other label) to understand the connection between two people, and how we must always overcome the obstacles to our own truth to attain ultimate happiness.

In a broader context this review is not just about the Heartstopper series, but the role that Netflix has played in acknowledging and legitimizing the stories of a portion of society that is still marginalized today. Although there were LGTBQ+ stories, literature, movies, and characters within film and television prior to the advent of Netflix and this generation, none have accomplished as much, and none have done a better job of legitimizing my existence. Netflix and its creators make me feel like my life is valid, and that I am connected to this world. The story of my life is told through small parts of these series and films and also reinforces my own self-acceptance.


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