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Movie review: Despite cliches, ‘Love, Simon’ is a film that needs to exist

“Love, Simon” was directed by Greg Berlanti and stars Nick Robinson, Katherine Langford, Josh Duhamel and Jennifer Garner. The film is about a teen named Simon (Robinson) who claims to be living a very regular life, but is hiding the fact that he is gay from his friends and family, which all comes to the forefront after an anonymous student in his school also comes out.

While I can’t say that this was a movie that I’ve been dying to see for months, I was excited to see this film. The trailer made the movie look very fun, and although there seemed to be some clear cliches, I can’t remember a film that centers centers on a high school coming-of-age story about someone who is gay.  On that basis alone, I was hoping to love what this movie was bringing.

The Good

He might be best known for his supporting role in “Jurassic World,” but Robinson is tremendous as Simon in this film. Robinson gives the right amount of heart, passion and comedy to the role and makes Simon exactly the right character that he needs to be to make the movie work. Robinson brilliantly brings this character to life, and is able to shine both with and without help from his counterparts.

For everything that Robinson brilliantly performs, the chemistry he has with Langford, Alexandra Shipp and the rest of his friends is also terrific. Langford especially shines as Simon’s best friend, Leah.The two share a few standout moments that really allow for the relationship between the two to build.

Duhamel and Garner are the two major names in the cast list, and even though their screen time is limited, they’re excellent as Simon’s parents. Both infuse comedy at the right moments and are able to combine typical parent tropes with a new touch. They both also bring some incredibly dramatic moments toward the end of the film.

“Love, Simon” is, above all, a very fun film to watch, and that has a lot to do with the solid comedic timing from both the actors and the script. Berlanti’s direction also works very well within this movie, for there are plenty of moments that got a strong laugh out of me, and I often had a smile on my face while watching what was happening on screen.

“Love, Simon” is a little cheesy at times, sure, but there’s something to be said about just how important a movie like this is. This is the simple coming-of-age story that was needed, It really hits hard on what it might be like to be gay in a place where it’s not necessarily accepted, and this subject matter is handled incredibly well from start to finish.

I appreciated just how fun and lighthearted this film could be at some points, and just how heartbreaking and powerful it could be in others, and this mix almost always worked in the movie’s favor because it made for a consistently entertaining ride.

The Bad

Even though it often worked in the movie’s favor, there are a lot of moments throughout “Love, Simon” that feel a little too cheesy. The high school in general just feels like the most stereotypical place imaginable, and some of the scenarios thrown at Simon and his friends caused some eye rolls, but the tone and characters allow for the cheesiness not to get in the way of anything all that important.

This is a coming-of-age movie, and it certainly feels predictable in that sense. Sure, I have seen the plot twists and resolutions a dozen times before, but the fact that this movie does center around someone that is gay and struggling with these same stereotypical coming-of-age issues allows for the predictability to feel a little more acceptable, even with its consistently obvious reveals in the final act.

Most of the performances were very strong, but Logan Miller as Martin often felt too over-the-top for my liking. He had moments of awkward comedy for sure, but I found him sticking out for the wrong reasons in most of the scenes he was in. Many of the teachers also fell in this category of overacting, with them often feeling too much like over-exaggerated caricatures of potentially real vice principals and theater teachers.

Conclusion

“Love, Simon” is an incredibly fun and well-acted film that found a way to tug on my heartstrings in its final moments. Yes, it’s been done before and it can be a bit much at times, but a film like this on this subject matter needed to exist, and that makes up for some of the minor flaws that the movie had. I had a great time watching “Love, Simon,” and it is certainly a film to check out.

3.5 stars

5 comments

  1. I enjoyed the comedy and what you deem “cliches”. It helped lighten the film. The very daunting and sobering LGBTQIA films make it hard for queer people to see that coming out is a possibility. We need the corny films and the serious films to show the complex situations queer people face when coming out. No one’s coming out is the same.

  2. Love, Simon was such and amazing movie!!! For one the cast was PHENOMENAL, but two the story had me going through so many emotions! I laughed and cried my way through such an amazing story. I related to it in so many ways and I hope many more people will get to enjoy this incredible movie!

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  3. Love, Simon is a very touching, heartwarming story about a relatable teenager with a big secret. This film is entirely relatable for anyone who has been in high school. Viewers don’t need to share Simon’s exact problems in order to enjoy this film. That’s what makes it so special! The characters are all well-thought out and the story is very funny, interesting, and emotional. This is a film for everyone!
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