Thursday, March 22, 2018

Movie Review: "Love, Simon" (2018)

Director: Greg Berlanti
Year: 2018
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 49 minutes

A closeted gay teenager who leads a simple life but is struggling with coming out connects with another gay teen online who grapples with the exact same issue.

Simon has a secret. (Image Source)
High school is hard enough as it is, but when you have a secret, and that secret is that you're gay, we can imagine it would be infinitely more difficult, especially if you're ever faced with people who aren't accepting. "Love, Simon" is directed by Greg Berlanti, who really doesn't direct movies all that often. He directed "Life as We Know It" back in 2008, and before that, "The Broken Hearts Club." The screenplay is written by Elizabeth Berger and Isaac Aptaker, who are both writers on the television drama "This is Us." It is based on the book "Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda" by Becky Albertalli. It stars Nick Robinson as the titular Simon, who describes himself as a normal high school senior. He has lots of friends (Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp, and George Lendeborg Jr.) and they do regular ol' high school things like drinking way too much coffee and binging on carbs at the Waffle House. Simon even likes his parents (Josh Duhamel and Jennifer Garner) and his little sister Nora (Talithia Eliana Bateman), who is an aspiring chef. There's just one thing. Simon has a huge ass secret: he is gay, nobody knows it, and he's not out. He's afraid to tell the people he loves about his secret because he doesn't want anything in his life to change.
Simon and his friends, sans coffee and carbs. (Image Source)
We can see a lot of people criticizing "Love, Simon" for being a little too John Hughes in its execution. The glossy upper-class suburban school with teachers who are unlike any you would encounter in real life. It's a bit overly sentimental and maybe even a little formulaic. Lucky for us, we can deal with sentimental and we love John Hughes movies. Beyond the glossiness, this teen romantic comedy is also a coming-of-age story that really hits at the spirit of its subject. It's one of the best coming-of-age stories we have seen in recent years.
It's true, you CAN like your family! (Image Source)
Through Greg Berlanti's direction and Nick Robinson's expert, mature, layered performance, we empathize with what Simon is going through and see how difficult it is for him to hide who he really is out of fear of change, judgment, or both. We feel for Simon and his struggle even though we have never had to experience something like this ourselves. Nick Robinson continues to impress us with his acting and he always offers such nuance in the characters he plays. We have no doubt he will continue to do amazing things in his career. We fell in love with Simon, as well as his friends, thanks to a wonderful supporting cast as well. Though Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel are limited to an occasional quip or a moment of charm, both of these actors get a monumental, powerhouse moment to shine that will bring the waterworks and make you wonder who's cutting onions in the back row. There are actually many instances that certainly brought tears to our eyes.

We sat through "Love, Simon" completely enthralled by its joy and humor. We were touched by its heart. We remembered what it felt like to fall in love. This is a movie that should be seen by people everywhere. Please don't let this movie slip by you. Please give it a chance.

My Rating: 8.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 8.5/10
IMDB's Rating: ~8.0/10
RT Rating: 91%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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