LOVE, SIMON – A Perfectly Timed Coming of Age Masterpiece

I don’t have enough superlatives to sprout my love for LOVE, SIMON. One of the most perfectly timed revolutionary cinematic revelations of 2018 and all the years before it. One of the first movies in history released by a mainstream studio, 20th Century Fox, that follows the outing and love journey of a teen gay protagonist. I was Simon, I wasn’t blackmailed or outed, but the trials and tribulations of this straight acting student was my life to a tee. Will people write this off as “another gay film, not for me,” or “not another fucking coming-of-age story,” or “really another gay coming out story?” Probably, but then they will miss out on one of the greater love stories of recent years that transcends cliche and stole my heart.

A movie that may have gay themes and be helping teenagers around the world come out to their families but also a movie that has deeper universal themes and will hold appeal to mostly everyone with a warm beating heart. LOVE, SIMON will get a full cinematic wide release with abundant praise to 20th Century Fox. It releases in Australia on March 29th, it is rated M and runs for 110mins.

 

LOVE, SIMON Nick Robinson image
Nick Robinson

 

LOVE, SIMON SYNOPSIS:

Simon is like most gay closeted teens around the world. He has a normal life and a deep secret that is slowly tearing him up on the inside. A secret he probably kept since he was 12 or 13, or even younger, a secret is harder to tell the longer it is kept and Simon desperately wants love and affection like most humans. On his school’s social media site someone named “Blue” talks about the issues he is facing as a closeted teen. How it is an emotional rollercoaster and he goes from bliss to turmoil in moments. Simon connects with him and they start an online friendship that evolves to love.

Simon leaves an email open by accident in the library and a school mate discovers it and blackmails Simon to help him with a girl or he will “out” Simon to everyone. Petrified of being publicly humiliated Simon helps this asshole, at the expense of his own friends.

I won’t really mention more than that as there has to be surprises but this is a love story. An anonymous love story; Simon falls in love with Blue, it is the first person that has helped him be who he truly is, and the movie is spent wondering and trying to work out who it is while Simon’s mostly comical mind works overtime imaging which of the guys in his school he is actually talking to.

 

LOVE, SIMON Movie image
Nick Robinson, Talitha Eliana Bateman, Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel

 

THE PERFECTLY TIMED COMING OF AGE STORY:

Brought from the famous pages of “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” from author Becky Albertalli LOVE, SIMON is a beacon of hope from the mainstream film studios. It does help it is directed by Greg Berlanti, executive producer on ARROW, THE FLASH, SUPERGIRL and RIVERDALE. He knows how to keep the youthfulness and topic on point without it falling into a melodramatic mess of teenage movie cliche. It is helped along nicely from a superbly effective screenplay from Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger. I caught up on my RIVERDALE last night and they had a scene in a cinema that was playing LOVE, SIMON, I got all warm and fuzzy all over again!

In a world that appears to be dividing further than evolving LOVE, SIMON is a perfectly timed movie. Seeing a positive affirmation going mainstream is impressive. If this movie helps one single teenager stuck in the closet with their issues of coming out then it will all have been worth it. It actually turns out a lot more than one have been helped. LOVE, SIMON is one single step for humanity and one giant leap for scared and closeted youth. But it’s universal themes make it much more than just a “gay” movie.

THE SUCCESS OF LOVE, SIMON:

The success of LOVE, SIMON is mostly the commercial mainstream lightness of the movie; filled with humour and relevant issues and topics without ever being invasive, preachy or melodramatic. It can be quite cheesy at times and the end is more Hollywood than realistic but by this time you will be so charmed by the movie you will have tears of happiness and/or sadness running down your face and may feel like standing and clapping. It’s the teen gay love story the world needs. And the success of the movie is starting a self-outing revolution across the U.S. – check out this article – https://www.pedestrian.tv/pez/love-simon-inspires-lgbt-teens-to-come-out/. The tweets of the people coming out to their family after seeing LOVE, SIMON seriously started me crying again haha.

 

LOVE, SIMON image
Lead Cast

 

THE CAST IS AMAZING:

I attended the Australian premiere for LOVE, SIMON last night. I wanted to kidnap Nick Robinson before the movie, such a gorgeous, loveable, young guy. After the movie I just wanted to hug him, OK, more Simon, but you get my point, Robinson was the perfect Simon. There has actually been some negative press because Nick is actually a “straight” actor playing gay. For fuck’s sake people – it’s called acting. I thought it needed a straight acting lead, Nick was me growing up. I related on so many levels it was scary. Most of the films released portray gay people as over the top dramatic queers, it was good to see an “average Joe,” someone the entire world can relate to without being threatened or confused. Simon represents generic closeted youth. He also does a very good John Lennon and his drunk karaoke skills are on point.

Another thing to the list of things that made my heart go gooey – Robinson’s own brother came out while he was filming and Joey Pollari, who plays Lyle, the guy at the diner, he also came out while filming – my god – SOB!

Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel are the prom king and queen grown up and married representation of America. Do they not make the perfect parents?! Love them both. Katherine Langford (Hannah Baker from 13 REASONS WHY), Alexandra Shipp and Jorge Lendeborg Jr. are the ideal best friends for Simon in school, loved their clique. Logan Miller was so bloody annoying he deserves an award for the remarkable acting skills of pulling that off and I was stoked to see Kid Flash aka Keiynan Lonsdale in the cast. I also have to confess a crush on Miles Heizer from 13 REASONS WHY, who makes an appearance as a potential partner for SIMON.

MS. ALBRIGHT IS MY HERO:

Special mention to Talitha Eliana Bateman who plays Nora, Simon’s sister, I really liked her onscreen and wish she had some more screen time – I need to read the book! Tony Hale (VEEP) plays the Vice Principal over the top but he does bring much needed comic relief and the woman who stole the entire movie and got audience cheers or laughter from every scene was Natasha Rothwell (SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE) as Ms. Albright. That comic timing and roasting skill was on another level. 

 

LOVE, SIMON Nick Robinson image
Nick Robinson

 

IN CONCLUSION:

LOVE, SIMON is my favourite movie of 2018 so far, it is a heart-warming light-hearted, but deeply profound, love story I will cherish for the rest of my life. If there were movies like this when I was Simon’s age just think how far the world would have evolved by now.

Thanks for reading to the end – I did want to end by providing some tips for help. Just remember, YOU ARE NEVER ALONE!! If you are a troubled teenage battling with coming out – SEEK HELP – there is a lot available, even send me an email or get in touch with these professional services listed below. I am not that knowledgeable on International support but the following seems to be of great assistance with international lists for getting help:

International:

THE TREVOR PROJECT

In Australia:

Q-LIFE

BEYOND BLUE

LIFELINE

 

 

 

YOUR CRITIC:

 owns, writes and edits Salty Popcorn and Spooning Australia. He is a movie, food, restaurant, wine, chocolate, bacon, burger and brussels sprouts addict. He is a member of the Australian Film Critics Association and has been in the  industry for 26yrs. Furthermore he loves watching people trip over and is Leonardo DiCaprio’s biggest fan. 

** Images used are courtesy of various sources on Google or direct from the distributor or publisher. Credit has been given to photographers where known – images will be removed on request.