“Love, Simon” stars Nick Robinson, Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp, Jorge Lendeborg Jr, Miles Heizer, Keiynan Lonsdale, Logan Miller, Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel, and Tony Hale. Released on March 16, 2018, the film is about a teenager who struggles to come out as gay.
The film is directed by Greg Berlanti, who also directed The Broken Hearts Club and Life as We Know It. It is based on the novel, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli. There are several love stories out there that involve a girl and a guy, or in some occasions, love stories that involve two girls falling for each other. If there’s one type of love story that didn’t get a lot of attention in terms of film, it’s the one that centers on one guy falling for another guy or, in this case, the struggle of expressing oneself as gay. This is one of those concepts that you would find in a small independent film like "Call Me by Your Name", so telling this story as a mainstream film can be quite challenging, especially when there’s some people who are somehow uncomfortable with this type of relationship. Truth be told, I was generally surprised at the amount of praise this film’s been getting since its release, but after experiencing it for myself, I can understand why. It’s a movie that delivers a strong and relevant message and provides a surprising amount of depth and charm into its story.
The entire cast in the film never felt wasted and provided a good amount of screen time to shine alongside one another. Nick Robinson delivered his best performance in his career as Simon, a young teenager who tries to balance his normal life with his secret as well as attempting to find the identity of another gay teenager that he met online. I’ve only known Robinson from his supporting role in Jurassic World back in 2015, so it’s nice to see him take on a leading role in something like this. He had a great amount of likability and humor to portray a character that people can look up to and feel exactly what he’s feeling. Garner and Duhamel were also in the movie as Simon’s parents and they also did a great job in their roles, especially Duhamel. Tony Hale as the vice-principal had plenty of good moments as well without falling into the “annoying comic relief” scenario. The story has a basic coming-of-age plot that we’re familiar with, but its screenplay was brilliant enough to overshadow its cliches and showcase the difficulties of coming out while also staying consistent with its tone in the process. It’s not too funny, not too dark, and more importantly, not too sappy. Greg Berlanti was able to provide a great balance between these emotions as well as staying true to its relatable themes and situations. There are a lot of moments that made me feel happy, sad, and in a few occasions, a bit angry. These are the same emotions that I felt while I was watching “Wonder” last year, which states that this film had done something right.
Overall, “Love, Simon” has no problem coming out of its shell and expresses itself in a surprising and thought-provoking way. The cast was great, the screenplay was smart and meaningful, and its themes were relatable enough to match its touching story. It’s pretty amazing that a film about a gay teenager can really affect me so deeply, even though I have seen a small amount of romance films. This is a must-see for not only people who enjoy heart-warming love stories, but also people who are dealing with this type of situation themselves.