`Heartstopper’ provides authentic queer representation

The Netflix spin on the Heartstopper lives up to the book.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

The Netflix spin on the “Heartstopper” lives up to the book.

Alisha Katel, Staff Writer

Avid readers often say that the book is always better than the television show or film, but the TV adaptation of Heartstopper lives up to the novel.

Netflix has just released the much anticipated LGBTQ+ series Heartstopper, encompassing the beginning of the relationship between openly gay Charlie Spring and rugby player Nick Nelson. 

The show delicately handles sexuality, coming out, and mental illness. Authentic queer representation doesn’t often appear in media, but Heartstopper does it right. It captures the painful awkwardness of navigating high school while also showing the dismal parts. Charlie’s friend group keeps viewers hitched — with Elle Argent, the silent but present Isaac, and protective Tao Xu. 

Surprisingly, the cast is very close to the characters’ ages, with almost all the actors being 18 to 20 years old and looking identical to their Alice Oseman comics counterparts. Director Euros Lyn accordingly cast the characters, with Elle Argent’s actor also a young Black transgender woman. The series keeps the cartoony aspects of the webcomic — animated doodles, the breathtaking art room floors, and the nostalgic atmosphere.

Most shows about high school, like Euphoria and Riverdale, offer exaggerated, unrealistic interpretations with tons of drama. But Heartstopper hits close to the average gay teenager. It doesn’t shy away from its queerness, tackling the rampant homophobia that occurs in schools across the globe.

Despite only capturing the first three chapters of the webcomic, Heartstopper’s TV adaptation does everything right.