It’s about damn time. Greg Berlanti, producer, writer, director known for his work in movies (The Broken Hearts Club, Life as We Know It) and TV (Arrow, Flash), brings us the first gay teen romance movie to the big screen on more screens you would normally see for a movie with a homosexual main plot. Yes, Moonlight may have won the Oscar for best movie last year but that movie only made it on 600+ screens. Love, Simon has made it onto over 2,000 screens. Kudos to 20th Century Fox for taking the chance as the first major studio to release this film under their label.
This honest and heartfelt film adapted from the book “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda”, involves Simon, a teenager who has a huge secret he is keeping from his friends, family, and classmates that he is gay. A situation threatens that secret being revealed and he must face those he loves and come to terms with his own identity. The lead playing the loveable and relatable Simon Spier is Nick Robinson, who stole our hearts before in Everything, everything another teen romance adapted from a book. With both his voice in narration and his on-screen presence shines on screen. He did a great job playing Simon in the film.
Along with Robinson is a star-studded cast including Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel, as the loveable and fun parents to Simon. I don’t know if I am late to the game but all of a sudden Duhamel has reached hot daddy status rockin’ some silver hair and playing the cool dad. Anyways, back to the story. Among his friends are rising stars Alexandra Shipp (X-men: Apocalypse), Katherine Langford (Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why),
This is a milestone for the gay community and with its PG-13 rating and teen demographic focus, this is going to reach a lot of people. The world is better for it as this movie is for everyone. This can appeal to anyone who remembers having their first crush at school, anyone who has ever fallen in love, anyone who was scared to be themselves among their peers and loved ones. There is a definite John Hughes vibe when you watch this movie. This story is very updated to our times now. While there are still people who are insensitive to those who are different, this town and the people in him are aware of gay people and react and respond in a way they would today versus back in the past. With movies involving gay characters in the past, there were a lot of storyline and plot points that involved a more intense and potential danger to those who came out of the closet. It was nice to watch a movie that involved the story of a gay character and get a different take on being gay in 2018.
I found the tone and pacing of the movie very well. The film managed to keep us busy with a mystery brought to Simon’s attention that there is another teen out there who is also gay and closeted. Simon decides to bond with him without knowing each other’s identities. Through this format we are introduced to more characters to keep us entertained and focused. If you haven’t read the book, I think you will have a little fun trying to figure out who this person known as “Blue”.
As for comic relief, most of the laughs came from the drama teacher, Ms. Albright (Natasha Rothwell HBO’s Insecure), at Simon’s school. She is putting on a play of “Cabaret” and she is leading the show with a bunch of students with barely any talent which you can see in her face the frustration of teaching and getting these band of kids together before the big night. She has quick one liners and lands each line and joke to her advantage. She will make you laugh out loud. The cool and modern-day principal at the school Mr. Worth (Tony Hale HBO’s Veep), has a great part in the film as well. Involved with his students well being and without prejudice is a nice touch for this film. We also saw a gay character who is already out and proud to show the other side of the spectrum. Ethan, played by Clark Moore (Glee), was an example of teens I hope we see more of in the future. The way he stands tall against adversity is very uplifting and motivating. His confidence soared through the film and while it was a small part, he is a great example of how strong someone can adjust in today’s world if they decide to truly be themselves in today’s society. Moore gave a great performance.
My only gripe about the film is that our lead was not played by an actual gay actor. This would have been the perfect platform to put an actor who is gay and out of the closet front and center and show they can shine as the lead character and also have a successful career. While there were plenty of actors in the movie that are out in Hollywood, it would have been nice for this movie to feature one in the fore front. Baby steps I’d say and this movie is a perfect example in the right direction. This movie could have been written and executed to fit more of the demographic of the gay community. Oversexed and full of men who have pretty faces and bodies but no acting skills is what some would expect. Instead we got a typical and stereotypical romance story that hits all the troupes we are use to from other teen romance movies and that is okay. That reason being that gay or straight we are all the same when it comes to love and finding love. I found it fascinating that we have a movie that just looked so mainstream as if these kinds of movies were always here in the first place. I hope for the best from this film and I want it to encourage other writers to tell more stories like this and appeal to other major studios to take a chance on more movies centering on the LGBTQIA community.
Go see this film if you have a likeness for teen romance movies, ones that remind you of the John Hughes classics or even the Shakespearean adapted teen comedies of the early 2000’s. This movie is also for those who want to see the other side of the fence. You will see that gay people and their stories are very similar to those who are heterosexual. This is also for fans who have read the book. I heard that they are pretty similar and I am sure Berlanti did a great job adapting the novel. I would gladly welcome a sequel if this story continues.
4 out of 5
Thank you for reading this review. Did you enjoy this film at all? Comment below your thoughts and I would love to hear from those who gained more insight about themselves or others watching this film. Do you see yourself as Simon from the film or any other character? Make sure to like and subscribe to the blog for more reviews in the future and lookout for a podcast to come soon where I turn this blog into a discussion about movies with my friends and hopefully my followers and other movie geeks around the world.