Anne Marie Fox
Teens struggling with their identity have a new adaptation to watch.
“Love, Simon” is a young adult story based on the novel “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” starring Nick Robinson as the titular Simon. Simon Spier is “just like everyone else” except he is secretly gay. When he begins a secret pen pal relationship with the other anonymous gay kid in school, he begins to learn more about himself and the changes coming toward him.
The last time a movie featuring a gay lead was released from a major studio was in 1997 with “In & Out.” With this new release, intentionally aimed at teenagers, it gives people a chance to see themselves and be represented on screen. Though it’s hard to portray an experience that every LGBT person can relate to, this film does manage to portray various experiences that are general and relatable. This is definitely a plus for the story.
On the other hand, the film does feel like it could be any other teen romantic comedy. The film takes a lot of traditional high school movie tropes to normalize the LGBT elements, which sometimes work but sometimes don’t.
For example, the theater teacher is this film’s “teachers who is secretly the right person for the lead to turn to for help” cliche, which this movie does need. Then, the stereotypical “lead gets drunk for the first time at a party” scene feels weird because it has the lead making a stupid decision setting up his friend with someone she hates, while also trying to find his pen pal. The story does offer a unique perspective on the coming out process, something that isn’t discussed in teen films.
Robinson as Simon is a great choice, even though as an actor he’s very passive. There’s a lot of emotion within the trials Simon is going through, and when it’s needed, Robinson hits the right notes. He does struggle to hit his emotional cues when they’re less extreme. He seems very bored at times when he should be more excited or anxious. Overall though, he offers the right kind of performance for a teen rom-com.
One outstanding part is Logan Miller as Martin. Martin comes across in the beginning as a nerd who wants to get with one of Simon’s friends. However, his true intentions come to light early on in the film and he surprisingly shows conflict within his choices. He understands what he’s doing but he thinks he’s not doing anything completely inappropriate until it’s too late. This performance didn’t have to be great, but Miller chose to commit and it resulted in a great character.
An important thing to recognize about this movie is at the end of the day, the reviews don’t matter. What matters about this movie is that for the first time in over 20 years, a gay romantic comedy is being released across the country in over 2,000 theaters for people to see. This movie gives kids a chance to not only see themselves, but also see themselves in a way that is relatable, natural and actually may have been similar to their coming out experiences.
This film may not be remembered for having the greatest story or amazing performances, but it will leave an impact on the future of LGBT representation in film.
Rating: Three and a half out of five kernels
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