Sometimes a movie comes along, which not only defies expectations, but blows them out of the water. At first glance, Love, Simon seems like a fairly average teen comedy. Teen films can vary greatly, often ranging from “alright” to “absolutely atrocious”. Interestingly, Love, Simon establishes itself early as a fun entry in the sub-genre. Not only does it bring interesting and likable characters, but the narrative brings an important message. Its okay to be yourself, even in a world where its not always the cool thing to do. We need more movies like this.
Love, Simon follows the story of high-schooler Simon (Nick Robinson). The young man is just coming to terms with his sexuality as he learns of another gay student at his school. The two boys strike up a supportive email relationship as they both decide who they are, and ultimately what they want in their lives. Inject a fair amount of high school drama, and you get a quality teen movie. CW/DC-verse legend Greg Berlanti directs a script penned by Elizabeth Berger and Isaac Aptaker.
To make a long story short, Love, Simon is an absolute joy of a movie. The teenage coming of age rom-com is one that I wish we had when I was in high school. The film’s message is so positive and it comes together in a sweet, joyful way. It is a pleasure to get to know these characters.
The film features a diverse group of young actors filling out the cast. Alexandra Shipp is a particular stand-out as the cool girl with a heart, Abby. At the same time, Logan Miller puts forward an interesting performance as the antagonist Martin. Despite everything, there’s a fragility and likability to his character, surprising in the face of his actions in the narrative.
Meanwhile, Nick Robinson is a subtle, but incredibly likable choice as the titular Simon. The young actor is perhaps best known to audiences for his role in Jurassic World. He brings a quiet charisma to the role, completely selling the introspective struggles of the character. Each of these kids are total standouts, not only making Love, Simon feel real, but also selling the emotional weight of the story.
The adult cast is amazing as well. Jennifer Garner, Tony Hale and Josh Duhamel each shine in their respective roles. Natasha Rothwell is an absolute gem as Ms. Rothwell, the kids’ feisty theater teacher.
Greg Berlanti is a relative newcomer to the feature scene, with only a handful of credits to his name. His clean visual flair and his success in working with these young actors proves the massively popular TV showrunner is quickly finding his footing in features. Here’s to seeing mother touching and grounded work from this talented creator
All in all, be sure to add Love, Simon to your list. In a world of depression and negativity, this is a fun, optimistic and positive film. It is an emotional, feel-good movie with a solid message. Be who you are. Love yourself. With movies like this directed at today’s younger generation, hopefully, this means society is going in the right direction.
Love, Simon is in theaters around the country now.