Coming of age and coming out stories have been done from different points of view. But this one decides to go back to the roots. Let’s talk about a love story – in this case a twist in a typical high school romance. Love, Simon‘s main character Simon (played with a lot of heart and soul by actor Nick Robinson) is closeted and lives the ‘normal’ life of a teenager. He is popular in school, has a great group of friends and is far from being an outcast. It’s interesting that if this film were made even a decade ago, the idea of coming out would have been so much more dramatic. Also, given the white picket fence suburban life of Simon’s family, (Josh Duhamel and Jennifer Garner play the picture-perfect parents), this is really an idealistic world presented to us. But the lack of drama doesn’t really take away from the story.
There is no dramatic moment in the film, just a collection of small, touching spurts, but connecting with Simon, like anyone who has sought to fall in love, is easy and seamless. Simon begins to live out his secret life when someone from school comes out anonymously on the school’s social networking platform. Simon immediately reaches out to them (under a pseudonym) which sets off a chain of sharing, (semi)romantic emails, and what Simon sees as a budding relationship. There is even some poetry in this as the anonymous boy at school signs off as Blue, and Simon begins to fall for Blue over the course of his emails.
Love is obviously never easy and someone from school chances upon Simon’s emails on a public computer at the library and blackmail ensues. Logan Miller, playing Martin Addison, wants in on Simon’s friend Abby (Alexandra Shipp) and wants Simon to help him woo her. All of this goes horribly wrong after a string of lies places Simon at odds with all of his friends.
The strength of the film is that it doesn’t pretend to be more than it is. It is a high school romance and coming out story of a young boy looking to fall in love. While the narrative lacks nuance and texture, it has some sweet comic moments and strong performances by a string of actors Simon (Robinson), Abby (Shipp), Keiynan Lonsdale (playing Simon’s friend Bram), and Katherine Langford as Leah, who hopes for more than just a friendship with Simon.
Love, Simon takes you on a romantic ride alongside Simon, who wants to find out Blue’s real identity. There’s a little scene mid-film of his parent’s acceptance of his sexual orientation and the realization that we all wanted to fall in love when we were young (and after, of course). The film even differentiates how the two parents react differently to their son’s sexual orientation, an attempt at keeping the story authentic.
I liked the film for its spirited representation of teenage love and the trials of wanting to be in love, without it being overly dramatic, something that tends to happen with stories about adults in similar situations.
Love, Simon is now playing in cinemas.