There are very few young adult stories that grasp me on a level deeper than surface. Greg Berlanti’s Love, Simon is a film that I found compelling from the surface through the mantle and all the way down to my core. On its head, a fair amount of people might dismiss this as the year’s designated “gay movie”, but it’s so much more about a boy, that’s just as average as any other kid, who’s just afraid to be himself.
Love, Simon is based on the 2015 YA novel, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. It stars Nick Robinson as Simon Spier, your average high school senior with the traditional family and friends, but one huge secret: no one knows that he’s gay, not even his closest friends. Throughout the film, he makes moves to hide his secret until anonymously spilling it to another boy, known only as Blue, over email.
The movie is just so full of heart. It’s charming with relatable characters, a great story, and incredible direction. The cinematography looks great too, I can’t forget that little detail. It’s so genuinely funny and the soundtrack, curated by Bleachers’ Jack Antonoff, is just fantastic. The music, and story itself, will give you vibes of an 80’s style John Hughes movie, while throwing modern influences in to create a great coming-of-age flick.
Looking past the direction itself, I have to applaud the performances here. Nick Robinson is finally a freaking movie star. I’ve loved his career choices since The Kings of Summer in 2015, so I’m glad to see that his talent is really being recognized through some of the best young adult / high school genre material that I’ve seen in a long time. It’s probably the best since Easy A. Simon is angsty and lovely all in the same breath. He’s a bit different than he is in the book, but I can’t argue that movie Simon is just more charming, due mostly to Robinson’s great performance.
In addition to Robinson, the entire cast seems to stand out in this movie, but the biggest of those standouts is Jennifer Garner, who plays Simon’s mother. She has this year’s Michael Stuhlbarg-esque parent speech that will hit you so hard and so deep. It’ll make you wish she was your mom. With Alexandra Shipp, Katherine Langford, and Jorge Lendeborg giving great performances too, you’ll wish that these cool people were a part of your friend group.
I’ve seen this compared to the likes of The Breakfast Club or Pretty in Pink because of the genre it fits into, but Love, Simon goes above and beyond to get its message across while still remaining a relatable, young adult tale that can draw in many types of audiences. It is a movie made for everyone, not just a niche gay audience. It’s beautifully authentic and steps outside the normal bounds of your standard teen movie. It’s so close to perfection that I can’t stand to give it anything other than a full 10. It will definitely find itself near the top of the list when I look back on this year’s films. I can’t imagine many things topping this one. Go see it!
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