Writer: Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger (screenplay), Becky Albertalli (novel)
Stars: Nick Robinson, Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel
By Nicole Ackman
“Love, Simon” is not only an adorable high school rom-com but also made history as the first major Hollywood studio film about a gay teenage romance. The 2018 film was directed by Greg Berlanti and largely centres around the main character Simon coming out as gay. Many films about the LGBT+ experience are tragic or focus on the discrimination that they face, but this movie is more your typical teen film with angst rather than tragedy. Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger’s script is based on the novel “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” by Becky Albertalli. It’s about a high school student named Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) and his email correspondence with an anonymous penpal who is also a closeted gay boy at their school. Robinson is a charismatic leading man while still seeming very normal and “boy next door.” Throughout the film, Simon ponders coming out but is eventually outed by someone at school and must deal with the fallout of his decision being taken away from him.
“The film may not be a perfect representation of the LGBT+ experience, but it does a great job for a mainstream film.”
“Love, Simon” is incredibly well-shot for a high school rom-com and I particularly love all the scenes of Simon in the car with his friends. The scenes in which Simon imagines the guys at school that he thinks might be his penpal doing the things described in the emails are also lovely. It’s an excellent example of its genre with everything from a school production of “Cabaret” to a vice-principal who tries too hard to seem cool and loves confiscating phones. Martin (Logan Miller) is a very believable high school villain character who desperately wants his classmates’ approval. Part of the plot revolves around Simon’s school’s gossip website which does a great job of highlighting what high school is like in the age of social media.
“Love, Simon” is a fun teen rom-com, but one that features two gay teens kissing while people cheer for their romance and that deserves to be celebrated.”
The film may not be a perfect representation of the LGBT+ experience, but it does a great job for a mainstream film. One of the best segments of the film has Simon imagining his three best friends coming out to their parents’ as straight. It’s hilarious but also makes a great point. I love how the film portrays Simon’s family life. He is close to his parents, who are the perfect couple and high school sweethearts, played wonderfully by Josh Duhamel and Jennifer Garner. His parents are clearly good people who love him, but his father makes little casual remarks about gay people that clearly affect Simon. Garner’s big tearful monologue is easily one of the standout moments of the film, even in a year like 2018 when there were many great parent monologues in films. Overall, the film enforces that coming out should belong to the person doing it and shouldn’t be spoiled by anyone else. It’s easy to imagine teens bridging a conversation about sexuality with their parents after watching this movie. If you missed the film when it came out, now would be a great time to catch up on it as a sequel television series called “Love, Victor” that follows another queer student at Simon’s high school has just premiered on Hulu. “Love, Simon” is a fun teen rom-com, but one that features two gay teens kissing while people cheer for their romance and that deserves to be celebrated.