Thursday 8 March 2018

Film Review: Love, Simon

Greg Berlanti thrusts the complications of coming out into the spotlight with Love, Simon, an authentic and affectionate coming-of-age teen comedy with a twist.

Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) claims to be your average everyday teen; he hangs out with his friends at Waffle House, daydreams during maths and is planning for life after high school. Except, he has a secret; he's yet to tell his friends and family that he's gay.

His picture-perfect parents (Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel play the loveliest and most supportive mum and dad imaginable) and his close cohort of friends (Alexandra Shipp, Jorge Lendeborg, Perth's own Katherine Langford) haven't the faintest idea what Simon is holding back, so when a classmate (Logan Miller) stumbles across an online romance Simon has struck up with an anonymous peer called 'Blue' and threatens to 'out' him, things start to get a little too close for comfort.

Without wanting to overstate it, Love, Simon can be seen as something of a landmark moment. Not because it's the first film to centre on a gay protagonist, but because of its profile. This is a major studio-made, teen-targeted romantic comedy, one of the first to really focus on the challenges of coming out during adolescence.

Despite this, it doesn't feel all too different from your standard run-of-the-mill rom-com (and I mean that in a good way); its familiarity works in its favour, and rather than relying on snark or sympathy to ally us with Simon, Berlanti's film is good-natured without pandering, cute without being cheesy and hilarious without being mean-spirited. Yep, you're unlikely to find a more wholesome and hilarious teen film in 2018 – Love, Simon will have you beaming from ear to ear.

Robinson in particular gives a great performance, affable, adorable and easy to relate to. Often relegated to 'best friend' status, Simon is the hero in his own story, and Robinson's performance helps sell us on the three-dimensional nature of the protagonist. Simon feels like a real person, rather than an amplified high school stereotype, which is a common complaint of mine with Berlanti's work on Riverdale.

A couple of complaints – I feel like Martin, the student who learns of Simon's secret and essentially blackmails him, doesn't get his comeuppance – are vastly outweighed by the positives. A truckload of needle drops (again, targeting teens who will no doubt already know the twee indie pop in the soundtrack) and a cute central mystery with genuine payoff keep Love, Simon tracking along nicely, even if the third act generates drama all so we can have that big finale.

That said, it's really good to see coming out addressed in such an earnest and honest manner, and the heart swells when thinking back on some of the quieter character moments. When all is said and done, it's here that Love, Simon really shines – the characters are tangible and well-realised, and the dialogue is pinpoint accurate.

The Verdict: 8/10

Love, Simon is the feel-good film of the year so far. To sum up in two words; simply delightful.

Love, Simon is in cinemas across Australia on March 29.


  1. I really loved Langford in 13 Reasons Why, I'll probably give this one a watch too. It's nice to see a studio movie tell this story for once.

    1. It's so sweet – a real feel-good movie :)



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