Based on 29 reviews
Based on 187 reviews
Common Sense is a nonprofit organization. Your purchase helps us remain independent and ad-free.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
Suggest an Update
A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Heartstopper is a romance between teen boys that's set in England and based on the webcomic and graphic novel series by Alice Oseman. Since a romantic relationship is central to the plot, expect flirting, dating, and kissing. There's lots of emphasis on liking others: who has a crush on whom, who's texting whom, etc. But sexual content is mild and mainly confined to kisses and hand-holding. In one scene, a boy who was a victim of bullying when classmates found out he was gay is depicted as a lonely figure while voices and written messages on the screen taunt him. One character tries to forcefully kiss another; a third character pulls him off and shoves him away. Language is mild: "ass" appears in a text, and there's some vulgar British slang like "knob" and "piss off." Teens at a party drink from plastic cups, but no one acts drunk. Characters are supportive of one another and largely kind, friends and family members hug and are honest with their feelings, and themes of integrity and empathy are strong.
Watch this show if it's the last thing you do
Report this review
Report this review
What's the Story?
Coming off a year of bullying from classmates who discovered he was gay, Charlie (Joe Locke) experiences a HEARTSTOPPER of a new crush when he claps eyes on Nick (Kit Connor) at school. He's straight, his trio of best friends -- Tao (William Gao), Isaac (Tobie Donovan), and Elle (Yasmin Finney) -- try to tell him. But Charlie's heart tells him something different, and the two navigate a friendship that turns slowly into love. The series is based on the webcomic and graphic novel series by Alice Oseman.
Is It Any Good?
This teen romance is as sweet and lovable as a puppy, drenched in wholesome emotions and stocked with good-hearted characters trying, and usually doing, their best. Nick and Charlie share a palpable chemistry, and look and feel like real teens; their slowly realistically building friendship-turned-romance is simply lovely, and the hand-drawn graphics that appear on-screen during the most intense moments feel true to the heart: bubbling hearts and flying leaves twirling around the pixilated boys, golden light and sparks that emanate when their hands get close together. It's simply beautiful, whether or not the viewer has been lucky enough to experience those same emotions at the same tender age.
Beautiful, too, are the relationships between the characters of this show, teen pals who tease each other gently and support each other stout-heartedly, and are transparent about their feelings. When Charlie outlines what his dream man might look like to his quirky sister Tori (Jenny Walser), his list of qualities is delightfully healthy: "Someone I can have a laugh with. Someone who's nice, and kind. And likes being with me." When Elle agrees to do something important for Charlie, he leaps up to hug her. Isaac follows to fling his arms around them both, and demands Tao get up too, and make it a true group hug. These are characters who are easy to love, in a romance so gentle and relatable you could watch with your grandma or your own true love, and everyone would sigh exactly the same.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how Heartstopper depicts teens. Are the characters and their decisions realistic? What about the consequences of those decisions? Do these characters seem like people you might know? Why, or why not?
How does Heartstopper depict bullying? What should teens do if that happens to them? What should they do if they see it happening to someone else? How does Charlie handle it? Positively or not?
The actors playing teenage main characters in Heartstopper range from 18 to 27 years old. Does that surprise you? Why do you think adults often portray teens in movies and TV shows?
- Premiere date: April 22, 2022
- Cast: Joe Locke, Kit Connor, Olivia Colman
- Network: Netflix
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Book Characters, High School
- Character Strengths: Communication, Empathy, Integrity
- TV rating: TV-14
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: December 14, 2022
Our Editors Recommend
Heartstopper, Volume 1
Sweet graphic novel captures first blush of romance.
Realistic class-focused teen drama has mature content.
Earnest LGBTQ film spin-off series is endearing and lovely.
Quirky comedy has terrific premise, tons of mature content.
Affecting, lovable romcom about gay teen has a little edge.
Star-studded, slightly edgy musical is all about acceptance.
For kids who love romance
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate