Love, Simon Review


Bearing homage to the 90s teen comedies of John Hughes and his colleagues, Love Simon is a bubbly, hilarious, and genuine take on the coming of age genre. Although it’s firmly rooted in the language of dramedies set in this familiar turning point in young people’s lives, it’s the consistently sharp character writing and the general tenderness that defines this decidedly inclusive film.

The story begins in a place of almost cartoonish idllylicness, with Simon (Nick Robinson) and his friends Katherine (Leah Burke), Abbey(Alexandra Shipp), and Nick (Jorge Lendeborg) living out the final days of their high school careers. In his opening monologue, which is almost saccharine, Simon describes that he has a virtually perfect family, lives in a good town, and his primary concern is just getting by until the start of college.

But, Simon’s seemingly perfect life is tempered by one all consuming secret, one that he hasn’t shared with his friends or family. He is gay. This is the driving point of all of the drama, and as Simon begins to juggle the secret correspondence with another closeted gay man at his school, while also placating an irritating dweeb who threatens to leak this fact, things increasingly get out of hand.

Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger’s script oozes charm, giving its characters an unending barrage of sharp lines and fun characterizations. Tony Hale and Natasha Rothwell bring their A game as refreshingly likable teacher characters. Hale plays the Vice Principle Mr. Worth, a goofy but affable figure who tries his best to limit smart phone use, while also seeming to genuinely care about his students. Rothwell is Ms.Albright a self deprecating theatre teacher, who grimaces her way through the hilariously amateurish dry runs of the student’s depiction of Cabaret. It’s nice to have authority figures who aren’t just caricatures of adults, and instead are aware and reactionary to their surroundings. Similarly, Simon’s parents are supportive, their bonds to their son feeling genuine.

An important aspect of the genre is making the teen characters relatable, or at least fun to listen to. Simon’s friend group delivers through their natural chemistry and well founded dynamics. There’s plenty of witty banter and silly inside jokes to be found, along with a general sense of natural chemistry.

While it largely looks at the high school experience through rose-tinted glasses, this perspective gives credence to Simon’s core dilemma, the fear of change and the shifting of his own identity. Although he knows his family and friends will be supportive of him, the specter of change still proves to be a frightening prospect, one that is mirrored by all young people that stand on the precipice between childhood and adulthood.

*Minor Spoilers*

If anything, the one disappointing element of film is that that the blackmail thread goes in the direction that feels the most dramatically convenient. The prescribed “everything has fallen apart” sequence in the third act is as predictable of a screenwriting move as they come, and certain characters behave in ways that seem off-key. However, this portion of the movie is mostly saved by the fact that the tonal shift from Simon’s idyllic existence, to his ensuing misery permeates into every aspect of the film. The weight of his secret getting out doesn’t only affect him, but the entire world, color palate and all.

*Minor Spoilers End*

While it stumbles at the end of the second act, Love Simon is an endearing entry to the coming of age genre. It’s consistent funny, nailing jokes about the process of growing up. It’s made up of a likable cast of adults and teen characters, bound by believable relationships. It’s direction captures a fizzy sense of nostalgia, and when the tone shifts after dramatic events, the ensuing loss of that emphemeral joy is felt in the pacing and shot composition, as well as the script. It’s an easy recommendation for those in search of a coming age about LBGT representation, and one that is able to produce laughs as well as tears.

Rating: 4.5/5

Image Source: E Online

2 thoughts on “Love, Simon Review

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s