Love, Simon had a lot of people talking, even prior to its release. There were many questions media and audiences were asking, but one of the most prevalent ones was: Do we really need this movie? The answer is yes, absolutely. Love, Simon, directed by super producer Greg Berlanti and written by Elizabeth Berger and Isaac Aptaker, combines romance with a coming out story that is both clever, heartfelt, and filled with good friendships and effective story beats that will bring joy to your heart and tears to your eyes.
Simon (Nick Robinson) is a generally well-adjusted teen who assures the audience that he and his family (Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel, and Talitha Bateman) are nothing but normal. Simon loves them and enjoys their company. He has generally healthy friendships with best friends Leah (Katherine Langford), Nick (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.), and Abby (Alexandra Shipp), who’s only recently moved to town from DC. But there’s one thing no one he’s close to knows: Simon is gay. When another student, who goes by the username Blue, posts about being gay, Simon begins emailing him and finding comfort in the fact that he can talk to someone about things he never tells anyone else. When his secret is discovered by Martin (Logan Miller), Simon goes on a journey that leads him toward embracing his own identity and to possibly getting his own love story.
Love, Simon is sweet, charming, has an abundance of funny moments, and lots of heart. More importantly, it feels genuine and sincere. There have been an assortment of teen romcom movies throughout the years, but none of them feel as important or as impactful as this one. The story is set in a world where high school isn’t filled with stereotypes and there are teachers who are memorable, even while the vice principal’s comments and behavior can be borderline uncomfortable on occasion.
The film is thoughtful and treats its coming out story with respect. Right from the start we understand why Simon is afraid to tell his family and friends he is gay. But it’s when someone else finds out about it that Simon’s actions, or lack thereof, truly have repercussions that affect not only him, but his friends as well. Love, Simon is a lovely romcom with a cool twist: it builds up its romance without giving the secondary character a face until the end. Simon is constantly on the lookout for who Blue really is. He sees Blue in his friend Bram (Keiynan Lonsdale), a student who works as a waiter (Joey Pollari), and in a fellow drama student (Miles Heizer). The guessing game keeps the audience hooked and the big scene at the end of the film feels truly earned and exciting because it all comes full circle. For Simon, it truly signifies the power of embracing yourself and being comfortable enough to do so in front of a crowd of your peers, who are arguably the most critical of people.
Nick Robinson as Simon brings a lot of sensitivity to his role. Through him we witness the ups and downs of high school and how it hurts to keep a part of you locked up. We see it in his eyes and in the way he holds himself back and then how he’s the complete opposite when he’s writing to Blue, completely free and able to express himself in a way he had never been able to before. The supporting cast is fantastic as well. Katherine Langford plays the lovesick best friend in a subtle, but obvious way. Alexandra Shipp’s Abby is seemingly carefree, but there’s some baggage hiding beneath her happy demeanor. Keiynan Lonsdale as Bram is wonderful and he balances the right amount of nervous energy with sincerity in the amount of time he’s onscreen. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the scene between Robinson and Jennifer Garner, which is especially fantastic and emotionally moving. In one scene, Garner really knocks it out of the park.
Love, Simon is about valuing and being comfortable with being your true self, especially in front of the most important people in your life. The film also makes many good points. We live in a society where the default is straight and we witness that throughout the film, most especially with Simon’s dad, Jack, who enjoys making the occasional inappropriate, and very male, joke or asks Simon whether he has a girlfriend yet. The film is immensely important for representation as well and it’s even more important that it’s a gay teen romance that’s handled with the utmost care. Boasted by great performances, emotionally effective story beats, and an overall heartwarming nature, Love, Simon will make you cry and cheer by the end.
Love, Simon is a romance with a coming out story that is both clever, heartfelt, and filled with good friendships and effective story beats that will bring joy to your heart and tears to your eyes.