“Love Simon” is just like every single coming-of-age romantic comedy ever made… and that’s exactly what makes it so great.
It is an adaptation of the young adult novel “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” by Becky Albertalli and follows Simon Spier (“Melissa and Joey”‘s Nick Robinson) and his friends Leah (“13 Reasons Why”‘s Katherine Langford), Abby (“X-Men: Acpocalypse”‘s Alexandra Shipp), and Nick (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.) as they take on their senior year of high school.
Simon is just like everyone else. He has a perfect home, perfect friends, even a seemingly perfect high school. Except he has one big secret: he’s gay and doesn’t know how to tell his friends and parents (played by Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel). Simon goes throughout high school not knowing if he’s ever going to be able to come out to anyone, until a kid at his school, who goes by the alias “Blue,” posts on a social media page saying that he’s gay. This confession spawns a back-and-forth email conversation between the two as Simon tries to figure out who Blue is, until someone discovers the emails and uses them to blackmail Simon.
The entire cast is phenomenal. Everyone has their moment to shine and are all individually memorable by the end. Natasha Rothwell, who plays the school’s Drama teacher, delivers some amazing comedic one-liners and is also memorable, despite not having a large role in the film. The character development is great and the film really takes the time to make every major character relatable. Robinson in particular brings Simon to life, making you feel for him and understand his struggle, even if you haven’t experienced it for yourself. You become invested in Simon throughout the film, feeling the weight on his shoulders from keeping his secret inside and wondering who “Blue” is. Is it the soccer jock Bram (Kaiyan Lonsdale), the Waffle House waiter Lyle (Joey Pollari), the piano player Cal (“13 Reasons Why”‘s Miles Heizer), or is it someone else?
The movie has many funny moments as well as some heart-warming and tear-jerking moments and knows exactly how to balance them all perfectly. The film is perfectly paced and doesn’t spend too much time on a certain scene while also making every single one feel important to the overall storyline. It can be extremely cheesy at times, but that’s what makes it so great, it’s no different than any other film of the same genre.
The director Greg Berlanti, who’s best known for CW DC TV shows such as “Arrow,” “Supergirl,” and “The Flash,” and is also gay himself, does a great job keeping the film relatable to all audiences, gay or straight. He does an amazing job not making it feel like a stereotypical “gay” movie. It’s not an “artsy” movie like recent major LGBT films, such as “Moonlight” and “Call Me By Your Name.” It feels like every single coming of age romance movie and doesn’t shove a message or agenda down the audiences’ throats.
The fact that it doesn’t shove a message down the audience’s throat doesn’t take away the cinematic importance of this film. It’s one of, if not the, first major studio production of it’s kind to hit the mainstream. Anyone can enjoy this movie, it’s not just for LGBT audiences. If you can’t relate to Simon’s internal struggle, you’ll find a way to sympathize with him or relate to the struggles of the people around him. Simon’s story is just like everyone else’s: he’s fallen in love with someone and doesn’t know how to tell them, the only difference is that person just happens to be the same sex as him.
I highly recommend watching this movie while it’s still in theatres. The way the film makes the audience cry, laugh, awww, and even applaud together, especially in the ending scene when Blue is finally revealed, is just something you can’t get from streaming the movie after it comes out on DVD or Netflix.