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Film Review: 'Love, Simon'

LOVE, SIMON

Nick Robinson stars as Simon in Twentieth Century Fox’s Love, Simon. Photo Credit: Ben Rothstein.

The new coming-of-age film, Love, Simon, from 20th Century Fox adds something special to the teen comedy genre. Simon Spier (Nick Robinson), the movie’s likable main character, is gay, a secret he’s hiding from everyone around him.

While several recent prominent indie films, such as Call Me By Your Name and the Oscar-winning Moonlight, have focused on gay romances and coming out stories, Love, Simon is unique because it’s geared to mainstream audiences. And judging from the cheers and applause that erupted from the predominantly younger crowd during key scenes at a recent screening in San Francisco, they are more than ready to embrace it.

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Image courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

Another different and compelling aspect of the film is that Simon—brought to life by Robinson with an easygoing, engaging performance—isn’t the stereotypical gay character you see in conventional movies and TV shows. He’s not effeminate or over-the-top flamboyant—he dresses in the uniform of your average heterosexual teenage boy: Jeans, t-shirt and a hoodie. One of his best friends is a jock. And he’s part of a close-knit, upper middle-class family that lives in an idyllic suburban neighborhood.

Greg Berlanti (CW’s The Flash) directed the film, which is based on the popular young adult novel, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli. After another student, who calls himself “Blue,” writes a post on an underground high school blog about being gay and afraid to come out, Simon emails him. He confides that he’s in the same boat and the pair begin a correspondence.

The movie follows Simon’s funny, frequently poignant quest to discover who Blue is, and to muster the courage to come out himself. Things get more complicated when Simon’s drama classmate, nerdy Martin—played with scene-stealing hilarity by Logan Miller—finds one of his emails. Martin threatens to reveal Simon’s secret unless he helps him win the heart of Abby (Alexandra Shipp), one of Simon’s friends. Feeling forced to comply with Martin’s demands, Simon lies to, and manipulates, his friends.

Love, Simon

Nick Robinson (Simon) and Katherine Langford (Leah) star in Twentieth Century Fox’s Love, Simon. Photo Credit: Ben Rothstein.

Love, Simon

Nick Robinson (Simon), Talitha Bateman (Nora), Jennifer Garner (Emily), and Josh Duhamel (Jack) star in Twentieth Century Fox’s Love, Simon. Photo Credit: Ben Rothstein.

The film's strong supporting cast includes Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel as Simon’s parents, Emily and Jack. Katherine Langford (star of Netflix's 13 Reasons Why) brings convincing vulnerability to the role of Leah, Simon’s best friend. And Natasha Rothwell adds a mega-dose of comic relief as Ms. Albright, the high school drama teacher. Tony Hale is also funny as the well-meaning but bumbling vice principal, Mr. Worth.

Love, Simon has all the ingredients you’d expect to find in a good teen comedy:  A group of friends dealing with typical adolescent insecurities, a goofy vice principal, a few bullies, a keg party, romance and a catchy soundtrack. 

Love, Simon is now playing in theaters.