Young Hearts

Movie review by
Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media
Young Hearts Movie Poster Image
Teens smoke pot, swear, have sex in "first time" romance.
  • NR
  • 2021
  • 95 minutes

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

age 17+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Stands out for positive role models.

Positive Messages

Looks at how boys/men and girls/women experience a double standard when it comes to sex, as well as how people's circle of friends and family influence their relationships.

Positive Role Models

Harper is an intelligent, forthright feminist who demonstrates sexual agency. Of Indian descent and adopted into a White American family, she's comfortable talking about how it feels to have left her birth country and culture behind.


A teen girl is pressured but dodges an unwanted sexual encounter. "Slut shaming" bullying. 


A teen couple kiss frequently, which leads to sex (not depicted). A teen girl initiates a sexual relationship -- and insists on her partner using a condom. Frequent talk about sex. Virginity (and loss thereof) is part of the plot.


Strong language includes: "bulls--t," "d--k," "s--t," and several uses of "f--k."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Likable lead characters and other minors smoke pot regularly with no consequences. Conversation about drinking beer. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Young Hearts is a light, romantic teen drama about first love, "the first time," and the gender politics that often accompany sex and dating. It's all about navigating the teen dating world, and adults may be painfully reminded of how uncomfortable these years can be. High school freshman Harper (Anjini Taneja Azhar) is smart, forthright, and politically engaged, and she's the one who initiates sexual activity with Tilly (Quinn Liebling) -- and insists on using a condom. While kissing fills frame after frame, no sex occurs on camera. But there's a lot of talk about it: between Harper and Tilly, between their friends and, of course, among their frenemies. The high school characters smoke lots of pot and use strong language (including "d--k" and "f--k"), activities that are made to seem as commonplace as playing video games. Harper, who is of Indian descent, talks about being adopted by White American parents and the disconnect she feels with her heritage.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Teen, 17 years old Written byKet john March 20, 2021

I liked it!

This was a fun indie movie that I enjoyed. It had some inappropriate stuff so definitely read descriptions before watching but I laughed really hard at parts (e... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byDogcat February 14, 2021

What's the story?

In YOUNG HEARTS, 14-year-old Harper (Anjini Taneja Azhar) starts a romantic relationship with her 15-year-old neighbor, Tilly (Quinn Liebling). The problem is, he's also her brother Adam's best friend. Their love flourishes as they keep their growing affection under wraps, but what happens when Adam (Alex Jarmon) and their classmates find out about their relationship?  

Is it any good?

Authentically awkward, this straightforward high school romance is about the challenge of keeping a relationship protected from divisive outside influences. Harper and Tilly's issues crop up once their inner circle becomes aware that they're in a relationship: Everyone has a snide opinion. Progressive, well-read, and self-confident, Harper has a sex-positive approach to her relationship with Tilly. She is, therefore, blindsided when she becomes the subject of rumors and lies. The fact that this all takes place in Portland serves as a reminder that, even in liberal enclaves, teens are in a constant tug of war between learning social boundaries and trying to gain status. They'll cut their friends down if it means gaining popularity points. 

For adults, Young Hearts offers real insight into teen town. Sibling writer-directors Sarah and Zachary Ray Sherman tap into how real kids talk, interact, smoke, shame, and pressure each other. Liebling, just 17, delivers every look and line with a naturalness. He's the real standout here, with a grounded star power. A film about 14- and 15-year-olds having sex and getting high may shock some parents, but teens are more likely to shrug it off -- as in, "tell me something I don't know."

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about peer pressure related to sex and drug use. Does Harper and Tilly's decision to have sex feel realistic? Do you feel like sex and/or pot use are glamorized?

  • What is a double standard? How is one applied to male and female characters in Young Hearts? Can you think of other areas of life in which gender rules and expectations are applied? Is that fair?

  • How did Harper and Tilly's relationship grow stronger when their communication skills were at their best? Why do you think their communication broke down? What was the consequence? Why are communication skills so important?

  • In what ways do Harper and Tilly demonstrate positive gender representation?

  • Why is dating a friend's sibling frequently considered taboo? Do you think Harper and Tilly could have handled it better to not hurt Adam?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love teen romance

Themes & Topics

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