Love, Simon

I was able to see an early showing of Greg Berlanti’s new coming of age film, Love, Simon.  It is officially opening March 16th, so the chance to see it this week was interesting.

Simon Spier (Nick Robinson)is a 17-year old senior who has three great friends, a wonderful family he loves and what looks to be a great life.  Only one thing, he has a secret.  He is gay.

When another student posts anonymously on a web site that he was gay, Simon began a written e-mail correspondence with the boy named “Blue.” Curiosity filled Simon as he speculated about several of the possible Blues.

This film was very clever and beautiful.  I really liked the format in which it told the story.  Every time Simon focused in on a potential subject, that actor would assume the role of Blue, reading off e-mails and being pictured, in Simon’s mind, as the mysterious e-mailer. That technique kept the audience off guard and prevent the mystery of who Blue was a secret.

And Simon’s mind was an ample place as we got many creative scenes involving these possible Blues, including a dance number.  It brought a great deal of fun to the film that could have focused on the drama only.

There were several other wonderful characters here as well, portrayed by an astounding cast.  Simon’s parents, Jack and Emily (Josh Duhamel and Jennifer Garner), were progressive and engaging.  Simon’s friends Leah (Katherine Langford), Abby (Alexandra Shipp), and Nick (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.) all have problems of their own.  They are all three-dimensional characters and I believed everything they did.  This young group of four actors, including Nick Robinson, are extremely talented and do a wonderful job with everything that was given to them.

Logan Miller was also standout as the trying-to-hard Martin.  I have to say, there was something that I thought was going to happen near the end of the film that did not happen and I was happy that the film avoided that cliche.  I don’t want to go into it because it could swerve into spoiler territory and I don’t want that.

The teaching staff at the school was certainly unrealistic, but remarkably funny.  In particular was Ms. Albright (Natasha Rothwell) and Mr. Worth (Tony Hale) who stole every scene in which they were in.  Natasha Rothwell’s delivery of her lines were comedic perfection.

I did think that the ending of the movie was too sweet and saccharine to be realistic, but I cannot fault Berlanti for wanting to provide that grand romantic resolution for a young gay couple that movies have usually reserved for heterosexual pairings.   It speaks to the greater acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle coming from the youth of the world.  Sure there are some of the idiocy of the past bleeding into the film, but the vast majority is shown to be accepting of the news, at least eventually.  Society has come quite a long way. At one point in my life time, this film would have been massively controversial.

Love, Simon is like a fairy tale romance (no pun intended) that also looks at the challenge and the fears involved in coming out.  What will my family, my friends, my peers think of me now that I have come out? Who am I now?  These questions are handled with humor, sincerity and a heart-felt courage while putting on a highly entertaining movie.  Yes, it may go too far into the world of sappiness, but its heart is in the right place.

4.1  stars


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