Director: Greg Berlanti
Starring: Nick Robinson, Katherine Langford, Logan Miller
Love, Simon is the coming-of-age movie that needed to be made, a story about a gay kid who, guess what, isn’t some sort of alien species and doesn’t need some sort of dark ending to his coming-out tale. Gay kids fall in love, suffer broken hearts, have trouble with friends, and don’t kill themselves in the end; it’s nice that we’re seeing that reality upon the backdrop of a high school dramedy. Suicide is a touchy subject, I don’t mean to go into it, I simply liked that Love, Simon could deliver a plot about the difficulties of growing up gay but somehow make it about simply growing up as well. Simon tells us himself, he says that he’s just an ordinary kid living an ordinary life. A film about just that, and one that shows LGBTQ+ youth that they can have a happy ending, is something special.
Like I (and he) said, Simon is just a regular kid. He’s a high schooler with three great friends, he lives in Atlanta with his family, his mom & dad are nice, his sister is smart; nothing giant has ever really happened to him and he’s set to have a nice life. There’s one small problem, and it’s Simon’s big secret; he’s gay. He hasn’t always known, but since he’s matured he’s begun to understand his feelings, and to know that it won’t be easy to tell his community who he really is. Even though his family and friends will accept him, it’s still a secret that he’ll only share when he’s ready, but that luxury is about to evaporate. A group post about another gay kid at school has received a lot of attention, and when Simon responds, he is quickly found out. Forced to reveal himself, Simon will have to face the changes that greet him head on, because there simply isn’t any other choice.
I want to touch on the idea of the importance of this movie one more time, before I move on. Simon’s story follows the exact same recipe of a thousand other high school dramas, and this time, in this way, that’s a good thing. They just made a standard movie with a gay character plugged in as the lead, and that’s big. He wasn’t a freak, he didn’t die, his family didn’t disown him; because while those things do happen and that’s also an imperative story to tell, they don’t happen all the time, and kids who recognize themselves in Simon need to see that, need to see that their youth can be regular, even if it’s undoubtedly tougher in some ways. So, on to the movie. I can compartmentalize fairly well, so I can say that this tale is great while the film itself really isn’t. Again, we’ve seen it before, and when judging cinematically, that’s a bad thing. Also, the acting is only OK, all the kids were just fine. Simon’s parents were actually pretty good, Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel, so that was a surprise, but not a big enough part to make an impact. Love, Simon is a good movie with a great message, but not something that deserves any awards for pure, theatrical substance.
My rating: ☆ ☆ ☆