Netflix’s ‘Heartstopper’ balances representation, romance

Violet Chace, Entertainment Editor

Netflix just released the perfect show for anyone looking to fall head-over-heels for a wholesome love story. “Heartstopper” is the story of Nick and Charlie’s friendship as it transforms into a romance at a British all boys’ school. It is filled with all the classic romantic tropes and although they can be cliche, they land every time and evoke a heartwarming reaction. With the help of an unforgettable soundtrack, this Netflix series implores viewers to binge all the episodes in one sitting.

“Heartstopper” is a moving romance and coming-of-age story based on the graphic novel written by Alice Oseman. The popular comic book translated spectacularly on screen in the adaptation that is loyal to its source material. Oseman was involved in the writing process which shows through in the series’ final product that accurately brings the comic book characters to life. It also captures the comic book aesthetic by incorporating animated graphics that convey the characters’ emotions.

Aside from the adorable love story between Charlie and Nick, a considerable amount of time is dedicated to side characters. “Heartstopper” is a romance, but it also has themes about friendship and the effects of dating within friend groups. Conflicts are handled excellently and healthy resolutions play out in a way that is still entertaining.

This show centers around LGBTQ+ youth and has excellent representation. It is refreshing to see a TV show in which LGBTQ+ characters are the leads. Viewers do not have to search for representation because for once, these characters are in the spotlight. It is important that this is a show targeted towards young adults. Nothing too serious or tragic happens to these characters, but it covers realistic issues the LGBTQ+ community faces. 

Most perceptions of LGBTQ+ people are based on media representations which are often rooted in stereotypes and written by straight people without an understanding of the characters being depicted, reinforcing homophobic standards. “Heartstopper’’ puts care and mindfulness into each of its scenes and it is evident that LGBTQ+ voices are a part of the filmmaking process.