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Dan's Review: "Love, Simon" is pure teen fantasy

Mar 17, 2018 06:18PM ● Published by Dan Metcalf

Nick Robinson in Love, Simon - © 2018 - 20th Century Fox.

Love, Simon (20th Century Fox)

Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, sexual references, language and teen partying.

Starring Nick Robinson, Josh Duhamel, Jennifer Garner, Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Keiynan Lonsdale, Miles Heizer, Logan Miller, Talitha Bateman, Tony Hale, Natasha Rothwell, Drew Starkey, Joey Pollari, Mackenzie Lintz.

Written by Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, based on novel "Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda" by Becky Albertalli.

Directed by Greg Berlanti.

GRADE: B

REVIEW:

I was young once. I had dreams, aspirations, and vibrant romantic streak, fueled by the idea that one day, the love of my life would appear as they do in romantic movies, complete with perfect lighting and an awesome sound track playing. Then, I got old, got married (yes, it was romantic) and got wise as to how things work in the real world. The lighting isn’t perfect. The people surrounding me were not always quirky and fun, and my family (although awesome) did not always say the perfect things at the right time. While my life didn’t play out like a John Hughes movie, I’m glad it’s come this far. Romantic ideals and perfect environments are the setting for Love, Simon, a teen-centric romantic comedy about a boy who is experiencing love – while also navigating the fact that he’s homosexual.

Nick Robinson plays Simon, a closeted senior in high school who chances upon another anonymous gay teen on the school blog. Simon begins an online correspondence with “Blue, ” who is also struggling with the challenge of coming out. Meanwhile, Simon leans on support of his best friends Leah (Katherine Langford), Abby (Alexandra Shipp) and Nick (Jorge Lendeborg, Jr.). Simon also enjoys the support of his super-awesome parents (Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel). Simon also tries to figure out the identity of his secret love, imagining several boys in the role, without any obvious clues. Another classmate, the “class clown” Martin (Logan Miller) discovers Simon’s secret and proceeds to blackmail him unless Simon helps fix him up with Abby. Simon keeps up the façade while getting Abby to accept Martin. There’s only one problem: Leah is secretly in love with Simon and Abby is in love with Nick. The deception works for a while until Abby rejects Martin, setting off a domino effect that leads to Simon’s public outing. His best friends are also angered, since his matchmaking efforts messed with their feelings. Heartbroken, Simon decides to publicly invite his secret love to meet him at a Ferris wheel and reveal himself in what he hopes to be a special romance.

Love, Simon is super sweet and romantic – from a teenage point of view. The coming out plot point is secondary to the complicated comedy of errors and unrealistic ideals of the “perfect” teenage romance. In reality, not all families are as perfect and understanding in dealing with sexual identity and sometimes your secret love doesn’t show up at the Ferris wheel.

Call me jaded if you will, but I know better, having dealt with the less-than-romantic mess of real life. Love, Simon is pure fantasy. There’s a market for that (among younger audiences), and that’s okay.

By the way, Nick Robinson plays the title character with grace and skill, making him very likable. Logan Miller gets a few more props from me for playing a guy everyone knows in school rather convincingly.

Again, Love, Simon is a very nice, albeit very unrealistic movie for young folks. It’s okay to experience such movies, even if they might influence kids to have an unrealistic view of life. I mentioned that loved all those John Hughes movies – when I was young, but seeing them years later makes them more shrug-worthy as an adult. I still like them, but I don’t love them. I’m still a romantic, just not a “hopeless” one.


Love, Simon Trailer

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