LOVE, SIMON – A Review by Cynthia Flores

 
LOVE, SIMON – A Review by Cynthia Flores
 
If John Hughes were still alive, he might have written and directed this great new film Love, Simon.  I grew up on his films in the 80s – The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and Sixteen Candles.  This new movie is the kind of coming out film with universal appeal that he might have done.  For instance, you have characters that you instantly recognize and bond with, there’s a love story, and there are topics that touch on the pain of feeling like a square peg in a round hole.  Nothing is too dark or devastating but it will make you cry at the right moments and laugh at the others.  Like I said, classic John Hughes.
 
In this movie, we have Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) who’s counting the days left of his senior year in high school in Atlanta.  He has a perfect family of psychologist mom Emily (Jennifer Garner) and a tough good-hearted dad Jack (Josh Duhamel) that cries at sappy movies the family watches together.  He even gets along with his kid sister Nora (Talitha Bateman) who’s always trying out new recipes in the kitchen and feeding them to the family with mixed results.  Simon hangs out with his best friends that he’s known since kindergarten, Nick (Jorge Lendeborg Jr) and Leah  (Katherine Langford). They have befriended the new girl in town Abby (Alexandra Shipp) who Nick has a wicked crush on.  Everything is nice, they aren’t the cool kids or the nerds they’re just the other average kids that go to high school and want to make it out alive and under the radar of the mean kids.  The only problem Simon has is the fact that he’s a closeted gay teenager who doesn't want anything to change on his last year in high school.  He doesn't think he’s strong enough to blow up his nice little world so he just plans to come out once he’s safely away at college.
 
His life is going as planned until he starts communicating with an anonymous fellow closeted classmate online who goes by the pseudonym ‘Blue’.  They both confide in each other the fears they face in their desire to come out to the world.  A real connection is formed over the weeks and months they spend talking to each other on line.  Simon even tries to figure out who Blue is but won’t risk losing what he has with him online.  That’s why when Martin (Logan Miller) uncovers the email exchange, he blackmails Simon, threatening to out him to the whole school if he doesn't help him win over Abby.  Having fallen in love with Blue and desperate not to lose his one connection with him being scared him off by copies of their emails being released by Martin, Simon plays on peoples’ emotions to help keep his secrete.  He’s forced to balance his friends’ needs, family, and the needs of his blackmailer with disastrous results.
 
Love, Simon was written by two people that are both writers and producers for the current mega hit TV show This is Us and directed by someone who did the same for other classic TV hits like Dawson's Creek and Brothers and Sisters.  So they all know how to move a storyline along to appeal to a larger cross section of America and not just to the homosexual community.  Although I can tell you from the personal experience I had watching the movie with my best friend Brian's’ boyfriend James, and a theater filled with a good mix of gay men, that it hit home for them.   James cried like a baby at certain parts and later explained that the pain often experienced in coming out was really handled well in this film.  What I love about the movie is it’s not preachy in any way so it has a real universal appeal of “your first love in high school” this one just happens to be about a boy who falls for another boy.  Also, it was great to see the main characters in the film be in a high school production of the musical "Cabaret" and look and sound like the amateurs they are instead of some professional production company version of the musical you might see on Broadway.  The drama teacher, Ms. Albright (Natasha Rothwell), is hilarious and steals any scene she’s in.
 
Love, Simon is a great heartfelt film to see and I hope it finds its audience.  I give it a solid A rating and hope you see it soon. 
 
Directed by Greg Berlanti
Written By Elizabeth Berger, Isaac Aptaker
Rated PG-13
Running Time 1 hr 49 min
Romance Comedy / Drama
Wide Release March 16th
Starring: Nick Robinson, Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel, Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp, Logan Miller, Keiynan Lonsdale, Jorge Lendeborg Jr. 
 
 
 
The Selig Rating Scale:
 
A – Excellent movie, well worth the price.
B – Good movie
C – OK movie
D – No need to rush. Save it for a rainy day.
F – Good that I saw it on the big screen but wish I hadn't paid for it.
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