A coming-of-age love story with all the feels.
On HBO | 2018 | PG-13 | 1h 51 min
Genre: Romantic Comedy, John Hughesy–Teen Drama
Why I watched: Grace, Tess, and I had a movie night, and we were looking for something that would make us feel. And you know what? Love, Simon *definitely* made us feel! We all burst into tears at the exact same moment (no spoilers, but there's a ferris wheel involved). I immediately told my sister to watch it, who did, and also loved it. Honestly, I challenge you to not love Love, Simon!
You might also like: Have you seen Sierra Burgess is a Loser? The Netflix original isn't as good as Love, Simon—nope, not at all—but is similarly a romantic comedy that is much more than a romantic comedy. (And another movie night pick. Clearly we have a theme!) Sierra Burgess follows self-proclaimed "loser" Sierra who unexpectedly finds herself becoming best friends with Veronica, the most popular girl in school. Oh, there's also a subplot about the two of them tricking a cute boy (Noah Centineo aka Peter Kavinsky) into dating Sierra when he thinks he's dating Veronica . . .
Who among us isn't predisposed to love a film about young love, big secrets, and a Waffle House? Not this moviegoer! Everyone deserves a great love story, and seventeen-year-old Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) is no exception. But for Simon, things are a bit more complicated: He hasn't told his family or friends that he's gay. Oh, and he doesn't actually know who it is that he's fallen in love, because they met online. Plus he's being blackmailed. You know, the usual. . . .
There have been a slew of indies to feature LGBTQ protagonists, including But I'm a Cheerleader and—my personal favorite—Saved! (on Showtime). And diverse romances have long graced the pages of young adult novels: Before Simon hit the silver screen, he came alive on the pages of Atlanta-native Becky Albertalli's novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. But what is new and noteworthy about Love, Simon is the amount of production power and publicity 20th Century Fox put behind the flick. The film is a mainstream, major studio release that grossed $66.3 million at the box office. And while some naysayers have suggested the movie is a glossy take on coming-of-age and queerness, at its core Love, Simon is real where it counts.
"I'm just like you," Simon says at the film's beginning. In so many ways, his life looks like my childhood, and that's not just because it was filmed in the Atlanta suburbs. (Or because his dad sports University of Georgia paraphernalia throughout.) Simon is very intentionally depicted as an average high schooler—just another middle-class teenager, driving his parent's old Subaru, with two parents (played endearingly by Josh Duhamel and Jennifer Garner) who love him and embarrass him. He has a younger sister and a dog, and a messy bedroom. That is the groundbreaking part of the film, which somehow manages to remain a romantic comedy despite its issue-driven plot: The every-day-ness of Simon's identity.
Coming out isn't easy for Simon, and it's not like he's immediately accepted by his peers or parents, but this is a love story with a happy ending. It's set to Jack Antonoff's soundtrack, which is poppy but also affective, causing goosebumps at just the right time. And although I've seen it three times, I still get smiley and teary eyed all at the same time. No spoilers, but it is so, so, so perfect. Literally, I wouldn't change a freaking thing. (Well, there's one thing I would change. Let's talk after you've seen it!)
Enjoy, friends! Try not to fall in love.
Love, Simon Liz