Love, Simon directed by Greg Berlanti, is the charming coming of age story that centres around Simon Spier, a smart, popular high school student. Based on the successful 2015 novel, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, the film introduces us to Simon, who is an ordinary guy… except that he is hiding a secret from his family, his friends and his classmates: he’s gay.
When he’s not at school Simon enjoys driving around with his friends and drinking iced coffee. He lives in a detached suburban home with his two caring parents and a younger sister who Simon shares an affectionate and close bond with. Simon is struggling to find the courage to come out to those around him – even though he is surrounded by nothing but love, he still feels isolated. It adds to the narrative that gay people, even in a near perfect environment, still struggle to come out – regardless of how privileged their life is.
It’s only when Simon is navigating through his school’s online forum that he discovers a fellow student (using the alias ‘Blue’) has posted a message letting the entire school know he is gay. Feeling inspired by Blue’s cathartic post, Simon sends Blue an email (using his own pseudonym) and an online romance begins to develop. From here the movie plays out like a teen mystery drama as Simon starts to obsess over Blue’s real identity. Could it be one of his classmates, maybe the handsome footballer? Or someone he is yet to meet?
Nick Robinson plays Simon with a blend of charisma and vulnerability, allowing the audience to see why Simon is loved by those around him. He plays the role with humour and warmth adding sincerity and realism to the character. The supporting cast mainly consists of Simon’s family and friends, and all play their parts effectively. One side character, an out and proud gay classmate of Simon, plays a small yet poignant role.
The delightful Jennifer Garner gives a standout performance as Simon’s earnest and understanding mother. Although Garner doesn’t get a lot of screen time, she manages to leave a strong impression thanks to one powerfully raw scene shared between her and Simon.
At the beginning of the movie Simon speaks to the audience using narrative form to inform the viewer that he’s “just like you”. Shortly after we are introduced to Simon’s life and it’s clear that he comes from a wealthy middle-class family, has a generously sized home and a loving support system in his family and friends.
It’s fair to say that Love, Simon does not represent all members of the LGBT community, as not everyone is afforded the same privileges in life that Simon has. The movie doesn’t spend its time preaching to the audience about race, social class systems or acceptance as can be the norm in typical gay dramas; instead it simply tries to tell a story, with its main message and theme being about love.
LGBT movies rarely get this level of promotion and are often relegated to low budget indie movies and intended to be viewed by a niche audience. This is one of the many reasons why Love, Simon is such a rarity for its genre. Few LGBT movies are aimed at a younger audience and none ever receive the mainstream attention Love, Simon is getting.
It is because of these reasons that this movie is important and ground breaking for a community that is underrepresented in the media. With a clever, funny script filled with many genuine heart-warming moments, it’s a powerful coming of age story that stands on its own merit and delivers a sincere uplifting message. Although it won’t please everyone, there’s a lot to love here – and helps remind us that everyone deserves a great love story.
Watch the trailer below.
The novel Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda can be purchased here;