Love, Simon, Movie Review
Based on the best-selling YA novel, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, director Greg Berlanti turns this teenage coming-out story into a modern, topical movie that gives audiences a new look at living and loving however you choose. Love, Simon generates genuine anxiety of falling in love that is identifiable for everyone. We’ve all been through it at least once if not numerous times before. Love, Simon is discovery delivered in a disarming, funny and insightful way—staying safe but always heartfelt.
Nick Robinson (Jurassic World) plays seventeen year-old Simon Spier, a guy just trying to make it through his senior year of high school with the hopes of bursting out of his shell in college. His parents (Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel) are young, loving, and actually care about what their kids are doing. His younger sister (Talitha Eliana Bateman) isn’t the least bit annoying and a Top Chef contestant in the making. Let’s not forget about his loyal companions: Leah (Katherine Langford), Nick (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.) and Abby (Alexandra Shipp). Only, none of them know Simon is gay.
He doesn’t start saying it out loud until he finds out from his school’s gossip blog that someone there is also hiding in the closet. There are quite a few prospects and he only knows him as “Blue”. Their back-and-forth emails start a curious romance that may never see the light of day. It’s sorta like You’ve Got Mail! However, his worst fears are unleashed once he’s outed and the emails are there for the whole world to see. Now, meeting the man of his dreams and having a chance at love may never happen.
Robinson gives a sensational performance, displaying all kinds of subtle emotions as a teen trying to figure shit out. The shifting in trying to stand out and blend in at school is tough enough without the whole homosexuality thing weighing a kid down. As Simon tries to piece together who Blue is, and as they both try to muster up the courage to finally meet face-to-face, the people he counts on the most get the most manipulated. What’s high school without drama, right?
What is most impressive about Love, Simon is it’s truly not about people finding out Simon is gay. The heart of it involves him coming to terms with who he is and being able to live it out loud. And, he’s actually one of the lucky ones to have friends and family that would accept and understand; yet, it’s still undoubtedly difficult to reveal who he’s always been.
Love, Simon is groundbreaking while using the John Hughes formula to make the story softer and sweeter. Still, good for Berlanti to confront what many people may never understand and to laugh at the absurdity of what society sees as normal. Through a few hokey moments, there’s tender, love, and care in this unfeigned experience that audiences rarely see on screen.
“Nature Boy” Brandon Vick is the resident film critic of the SoBros Network, and star of Brandon’s Box Office In Your Mouth. Follow him on Twitter@SirBrandonV and be sure to search #VicksFlicks for all of his latest movie reviews.