- Directed by Greg Berlanti
- Starring Nick Robinson, Logan Miller, Katherine Langsford, Alexandra Shipp
- Written by Elizabeth Berger, Isaac Aptaker
- Romance, Comedy, Queer
- Rated PG-13
- 1hr 50mins.
- 16 March 2018
Simon Spier has a perfectly normal life. He has a great family, great friends, and a totally normal high school experience… except he’s secretly gay. When another gay kid in school anonymously posts his confession on the local teen website, Simon starts an online friendship with the mysterious Blue, the only person he can (under the pseudonym Jaques) share his secret with. His senior year goes from perfectly average and normal to being a test of friendships, secrets, and learning to be his true self without fear.
How’s the Story?
The story is fantastic. There are a dozen movies about coming out and thousands of coming-of-age films, but none of them are funny, sincere, heartfelt teen romantic comedies about a gay boy learning to be himself and live the life he deserves to live without fear. It’s just something so unique and so fitting for the Centennial generation’s attitude towards being gay and coming out. My siblings are all Centinnials and the attitudes in this film are spot on for how their high school experience is. The homophobes are hated by the general population, there are a few brave queer kids who are able to be themselves and face the burden of the minority of the student body who are assholes, and there are adults who are willing to stand up for the queer kids, and yet for all of that, there’s still the struggle of letting the world truly see who you are.
It’s just very well-told and perfect for teens these days.
How’s the Acting?
The acting is good. I don’t really foresee any Oscar nominations for any of these performances, but Nick Robinson does a great job bringing Simon to life, and all of his friends are very well done. On a normal movie spectrum, this is a solidly acted film with no real surprises.
As a queer film, however, anything better than cheesy soap-opera level acting is FANTASTIC! So as a queer film that isn’t tragic Oscar-bait, this is one of the best acted films I’ve ever seen in my life.
(Side note: Ms. Albright is the best side character possibly ever created. Just saying.)
How’s the Writing/Directing?
As I said, this film feels genuine. It feels like a real teen experience. I’m twenty-seven, but I have a brother and sister who will be seventeen soon and are juniors in high school and a baby sister who is fourteen and will be a freshman next year, and these kids feel real. They feel like actual teenagers the way I observe my siblings and their friends together.
The dialogue is great, as well. There are a few lines that are just beyond incredible. One in particular that will stick with me forever is Jennifer Garner’s line about “You can finally exhale.” That line made my heart clench in the most beautiful way. There’s just something special about the way people speak to each other in this film so that it feels genuine.
My ONLY gripe is that it’s so unrealistic, in the experience of me and every other queer person I know, that his friends don’t also end up coming out as some form of queer. Maybe it’s the age of the creators, but trust me: you all start out straight, and by the time everybody’s done coming out, there’s like 1 token hetero amongst your 8 person friend group.
How’s the Cinematography?
While nothing is mind-blowing, there are some beautiful shots in this movie. I love the way colors are used in various places, and I love the choice for Blue to be shown as the various suspects for Blue’s identity with a blue/gray tinge. I love the scenes in cars, too. It’s just a great visual way to keep the film feeling ‘young’.
Is It Worth Watching?
What makes Love, Simon so groundbreaking isn’t masterpiece film making or Oscar-worthy acting, rather it’s the fact that it’s a teen rom-com about a gay boy. It’s Cinderella Story meets Never Been Kissed meets 10 Things I Hate About You meets a dozen other famous rom-coms that all differ from this one solely in the fact that those movies are about a girl and a boy and this is about a boy and a boy. And that one simple fact is life changing.
This is a movie for the kids out there who want to see a movie where there’s no gay-bashing, no suicide, no AIDS death, a movie where the homophobic kids are treated like disgusting assholes by everybody else in it, a movie where there’s no threat of being disowned by family or friends for being gay, a movie about what it’s like to not have to be terrified of anything other than things changing when you don’t want them to change, all because you’re queer. Yes, it has drama and angst and life-lessons, but it’s the same drama/angst/life-lessons that other teen movies have shown about choosing to be who you are and not hide something important just because you’re afraid of change.
We don’t need another tragedy filled Oscar-movie in the queer community. We need a boy meeting another boy online who he feels a connection with and trying to come into himself so that he can get his big, romantic, public fairy-tale kiss while the rest of the kids cheer for a happy ending.
Do you know how often we get happy endings in queer films? Especially ones that aren’t straight-to-Netflix and not very good? Widely available, highly talked about queer films are usually about tragedy and death and violence and sad endings where the lovers don’t end up together. Freaking Moonlight is probably the happiest queer movie to get talked about that I can think of, and that movie is a big bundle of terrible pills to swallow.
When you feed queer kids nothing but media that assumes they will live tragic, often short, pain-filled lives, it fucks with their heads. Straight kids get a thousand movies about the guy gets the girl and they share a romantic kiss and live happily ever after, they grow up from childhood on this notion that love is just a given in their future. Queer kids see straight people falling in love and queer people being murdered for who they are or dying of AIDS.
Love, Simon gives queer kids the chance to feel the same thing straight kids get to feel for possibly the first time in their lives. That kind of hope? That’s indescribable.
So do I think Love, Simon is worth watching? What the hell do you think?!
My Rating: 10/10