I have never felt so much emotion watching a high school movie than I did after ‘Love, Simon’ – based on Becky Albertalli’s book ‘Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda’. It is one of the most realist, honest, sweetest, and heartbreaking films I have seen in a long time, even when it manages to feel cartoonish at times (No thanks to Tony Hale’s portrayal of a high school teacher looking to connect with his students). I still managed to see ‘Love, Simon’ for what it was; a walk in a closeted gay teenager’s shoes.
Nick Robinson plays Simon Spier as a relatable and a sympathetic character; his performance is as heartbreaking as it is sweet; thanks to Greg Berlanti’s direction. In fact, Berlanti is, himself, gay, so he understands Simon’s struggle so well. I am sure it is just as personal for him as it was for others who were, in a way, involved. Not only did Robinson’s younger brother to come out as gay, but it also inspired actor Keiynan Lonsdale (who plays Simon’s classmate Bram in this movie) to come out too. I see ‘Love, Simon’ as a way for gay teenagers to feel comfortable about their sexuality, as well as others to understand what people with this struggle go through.
‘Love, Simon’ still plays as your typical high school movie, where our main character is dealing with a personal struggle, a loving family who gets too wrapped up in their own agenda (Josh Duhamel, Jennifer Garner, and Talitha Eliana Bateman), and friends who understand (Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp, and Jorge Lendeborg Jr.). I will not give much away, but it goes through the motions of a teen movie, especially when Simon reaches his lowest point. Does that hinder the message and intentions of ‘Love, Simon’? Not as much. Every frame feels warm and calming to help you enjoy the film. The lighting is especially welcoming. Every emotion you can ever experience, you can find just as easy. Some may call it manipulative, but I feel with the right technical prowess, it helps to immerse you into its world. ‘Love, Simon’ feels rewarding and refreshing at the same time.
It is not often you see a gay character as the lead in a high school movie, which is what makes this film special. It is the first teen movie to do so. Whereas, in various forms of media set in high school, they are stereotypes portrayed as effeminate pretty boys. ‘Love, Simon’ does not treat its lead as just another stereotype. Instead, he is just your average high school student who happens to be gay.