Rising star actor Nick Robinson along with Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel lead a large ensemble cast of twenty something’s playing high school teenagers in the coming of age and the coming out story of a student named Simon Spier (Robinson) in the lightly romantic comedy - lightly dramatic film directed by Greg Berlanti called “Love, Simon”.
The story revolves around seventeen-year old Simon Spier who is attending high school in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia. But his life has become increasingly complicated by the fact that he has come to realize he is gay, but has yet to tell his family or friends. But one day one of his friends Leah, who also doesn’t know about Simon being gay, tells him as a matter of gossip about an online confession of a closeted gay student in social media at their high school, known only as "Blue". Simon seeing this as opportunity to finally share his feelings with someone without divulging to everyone what he is going through proceeds to reach out to “Blue” anonymously under his own alias, "Jacques".
But Simon’s secret is discovered by a naïve school jerk named Martin who proceeds to blackmailing Simon into helping him hook up with a girl named Abby who Simon is good friends with. Martin wants to go out on a date with her in the hopes of Abby eventually being his girlfriend and threatens Simon if he doesn’t help him with Abby he will reveal his secret on line to everyone. But as one could expect, the more Simon tries to keep his secret by helping Martin the more of a mess he makes of his life with his friends, his family and “Blue”.
REVIEW: “Love, Simon” is less of an imaginative film and more of a text book basic story of what has probably happened in real life to almost every teenager and their respective families; the awkwardness, the peril, the dread and the fear people feel when coming out gay. But where this film works well is in the area of highlighting the real emotional ups and downs both through humor and drama while never sacrificing one over the other in key moments when some real emotional depth is call upon.
Ultimately “Love, Simon” under a cinematic microscope is a light hearted film that is reflective of a changing culture in its attitudes about homosexuality, especially from the perspective of a growing younger audience and population who are simply and naturally more comfortable with their friends being gay, as well as sharing aspects about their relationships in social media.
From a much broad cinematic perspective and as far as romantic film stories go “Love, Simon never gets too weighty in dealing with this subject. It also a few times lathered on the sentimental schmaltz a little too thick for my sake. But in the end both of these are only minor flaws to the story as I still found the film to be very charming to watch.
“Love, Simon’s” story stays in the lane of the important principle of being honest with one another and to yourself with winsomeness, charm, compassion and decency. And when you add to this story an excellent young ensemble cast, a quality script and a genuine mystery to tantalize the audience with, the film is very well-crafted as a refreshing cultural adolescent moment on the subject of acceptance regardless of race, gender and sexual orientation.