Love, Simon review
The news has been filled with constant reminders with how much people seem to be more divided thanks to the more controversial political landscape. People will disagree about a lot of things, but I think back to my high school era and have to consider whether were holding back a lot more then we consider. Being a part of the musical theater group of kids, I would come to know several people that were a part of the LBGT minority. Some of them were reserved and some were "loud and proud" I thought it was interesting to consider that maybe twenty-five years ago, they would have not been as confortable doing so.
Because of this landscape, I have grown up with no problems with the LBGT crowd. I have lived by the philosophy that no matter what kind of person you were, as long as you were good, then you had the right to be whoever you wanted. I just wished that cinema had done better to portray the LBGT community, especially in high school movies, where it would matter the most. This movie does portray things differently as it should with Love, Simon.
High school senior Simon Spier (played by Nick Robinson) seems to have his life in control. He has plenty of friends including Leah (played by Katherine Langford), Abby (played by Alexandra Shipp) and Nick (played by Jorge Lendeborg Jr.) that share classes and hang out. He has a supporting family he loves including dad Jack (played by Josh Duhamel), mom Emily (played by Jennifer Garner) and sister Nora. He's happy as a musical theater student, even if he's playing bit parts. While everyone sees Simon as a likable classmate, what they don't know is that he's gay.
Everything changes for him when while scrolling through a local Whisper-like webpage, someone within his school reveals that their also gay. Simon finds his email and starts to vent out his personal frustrations and even tells the recipient "Blue" that he's been struggling to come out of the closet. Both agree to email each other as "Blue" and Simon as "Jacques". At one point, classmate Martin (played by Logan Miller) finds his emails and promises not to reveal them in exchange for Simon helping him talk to Abby. He tries to get them together while telling another friend to go for another girl while trying to figure out who "Blue" is, his life just got more complicated.
As I said, Love, Simon takes the "gay kid in high school" and does something different. Most high school movies usually portray them as "loud and proud" or "aggressive with a secret". Instead, our gay character seems to be more popular who has to reveal his secret. This is something I haven't seen before, and this movie does it well. It works as a high school, coming of age, and as a romance (though loosely, though I'll get to that in a moment) movie.
Not only are Nick Robinson and the other teenagers good actors, but they portray teenagers that I feel like I could see chatting in a Starbucks or sitting in the quad just hanging out. The writing does a good job fleshing out Simon as kind of quiet guy that could attract a group of people. I don't know why movies haven't done this, but I also like that he's not on a sports team or even a strong academic. He's just a kid. Later in the movie, his mother tells him about how he seems to be holding something inside. I got that too just from watching this movie. When you can sense one's budding pressure, you know your character is strong.
As far as how this movie handles his coming out, I won't give that away as it's different then you'd expect this story to believe. I will say that how people receive it does feel genuine…especially with how they hear the news.
If I had any problems, there are two. First is the blackmailing character Martin. Though I can see what kind of kid he's supposed to be, the smart-alec geek, he felt like he should belong in a 1980's National Lampoon comedy and not a modern drama. Second is the end result of Simon's love life, which I wont spoil, but I wish he could have ended up with someone else. What I don't want Love, Simon to portray is that like straight people, not all gay people are going to be attracted to each other.
I'll give this four Cabaret posters out of five. I hope a lot of teenagers do get a chance to see this, especially if their in the LBGT crowd. They need to understand that coming out can be scary, but even with the occasional jerk, there are good people ready to give them a hug. Love, Simon is a sweet and honest look at this teenage dilemma that Hollywood had been uneasy about telling for a while.