Love, Simon is a story about a young man named Simon Spier who lives a normal life. He’s got great friends, a great family, and a great big secret, he’s gay. Directed by Greg Berlanti with a cast that stars Nick Robinson, Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel, Alexandra Shipp, Katherine Langford, and Jorge Lendeberg Jr.
The story of Love, Simon follows Simon (Robinson) as he comes to grips with being a closeted homosexual. He’s kept it well under wraps his whole life until one day an anonymous thread is opened on a chat board from another closeted homosexual guy. This guy, who goes by the pseudonym “Blue”, brings up the topic of how he feels about not being his true self and this sparks something in Simon. Simon decides to start a conversation with him and through the course of the conversations, they begin to connect on a deep level even though Blue keeps Simon at arm’s length. This eventually then turns into something of a quest to find Blue as Simon hopes that this will give him some kind of resolution to his own personal story. Along the way, Simon finds three possible suitors and he tries to deduce which one could be Blue if any of them are.
If I’m being honest I wasn’t sure about Love, Simon when it first opened up. The dialogue was over the top, the characters had that Hollywood shine on them and everything about Simon seemed way too perfect. There was nothing to understand, nothing to digest, just some nice imagery. It was all cutty cutter though the characters were charming, especially Simon. But the script was nothing you wouldn’t find outside of a Nancy Meyer’s film. Then boom the second act kicked in and Simon began his search in earnest and the emotions came flooding in. The characters motivations, their relationships and the stakes in the story are all elevated. In one such scene involving Simon and Abbie (played by a charming Alexandra Shipp) they have a wonderful interaction that brought me to tears. The mean reason this works as well as it does is due to director Greg Berlanti. Many may recognise that name from the many CW series he is a part of so this guy has the drama, heart, and humour of tweens and above down to a fine science.
Berlanti understands his characters and the world they live in allowing the audience to follow the characters as they evolve over the course of the 110 minutes and it’s a heartfelt experience. At times the screenplay does dip the quality of the characters with scenes that are come off as subpar episodes of Riverdale but just as quickly the film rallies to remind the audience of the beauty of this story as well as its relevance in the times we’re living in. There’s also the cinematography and score which couple together quite nicely giving a fresh and airy sense to the film. As well as that the soundtrack is extremely pop-centric which adds an enjoyable sense of teen giddiness.
Berlanti was quoted in an article saying he hopes mainstream movies might see the same kind of rapid change that television underwent in the mid-aughts. “In TV, when we were trying to do certain kinds of LGBT representation over the last 15 years, walls started to fall, then they fell really fast. And we were able to get more and more specific with the storytelling. Cinema has always been at the forefront of that stuff. But I don’t think that mainstream studios have been.” With films like last years Call Me By Your Name as well as The Handmaiden there are many great stories coming out about love and it’s great to see a film like Love, Simon continue that trend.
Love, Simon is a wonderful story that everybody needs to see. It will bring you to tears as you join Simon on this journey of self-discovery and will help those still unsure among us to maybe say something that will set them free.