›› Love, Simon ‹‹

a film by Greg Berlanti.

2018 | 110 mins | US.

a bright 'n' breezy romantic coming out comedy.

Dave says:

Bright 'n' breezy is this romantic coming out comedy from director Greg Berlanti of The Broken Hearts Club fame, as adapted from the wondrous novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli.

It tells the story of seventeen-year-old Simon (Nick Robinson); namely your typical American high school teen who is as much at ease at school, as he is at home with his devoted mother (Jennifer Garner) and father (Josh Duhamel) and cute little sister Nora (Talitha Bateman). Yet unbeknown to the world and in particular to his parents and best friends Leah (Katherine Langford), Abby (Alexandra Shipp) and Nick (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.), the latter two having the closeted hots for each other - the boy is gay. Feeling all but alone in a straight man's world, Simon's luck is about to change when he learns that another gay student is posting emails anonymously on the schools' website under the guise of 'Blue'. And as sure as night follows day, it isn't long before the two become email pals, pouring out their heartfelt coming out anxieties to each other, only for a lapse of signing off protocol on a shared computer to allow theatrical outsider Martin (Logan Miller) to get to know his secret. Using his knowledge to blackmail Simon into introducing him to the object of his desire Abby, Simon finds himself forced to repeatedly lie to his friends, in the process manipulating their very heartstrings so as to keep his secret safe, fearing that to do otherwise would not only risk being outed, but could end his email relationship with 'Blue' who by now he's fallen for, big time. Only truth will out and when it does, it leaves Simon seemingly having lost the friendship of those he holds dear and moreover the online love of his life. Or has he?

Complete with a number of fantasy sequences, this hugely entertaining tale has a lot going for it and in particular the central message of being proud of your sexuality; whatever it be. That Simon's parents, as wonderfully played by the Duhamel / Garner pairing, are of the empathetic kind that every gay teenager contemplating coming out to their family can only but dream of, is I dare say somewhat to be expected, as too is a narrative that delights in throwing in a couple of red herrings as to who 'Blue' could be, even if a comical in-joke actually reveals his identity way too soon in the film. Then again, such are but part of the overall feel-good charm of a piece that is but a captivating mix of coming out, romance and comedy, together with a gay themed who-is-it?, given the identity of Simon's online love and here there's three possible candidates, remains a guessing game of the unconfirmed variety right up to the closing Ferris wheel scene when 'Blue' finally reveals his true self in front of what appears to be the entire school, a sequence that's so OTT and yet delightful at the same time, that it makes the classic Beautiful Thing 'dance with me' close-of-play look like coming out in the closet!

That the film led to the television spin-off series Love, Victor with Robinson reprising his role of Simon Spier, is perhaps of no surprise, given the whole scenario was ripe for further development under the same creative team of Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger. Premiered in the UK on Film4 in 2021 as their 9pm prime time Valentine's Day movie, frankly, there's just too many uplifting moments here to list, even if Natasha Rothwell as no-nonsense drama teacher Ms. Albright and Clark Moore as out 'n' proud gay teen Ethan go head to head for the accolade of having the best one-liners in the film. Only the show belongs to Robinson who beautifully conveys the mixed emotions of a young man who in truth does not fear coming out; rather being treated differently should his outed sexuality become the dominant factor to those around him; rather than just being a part of who he is.

That the scene in which best friend Nick reached out to the outed Simon by way of taking him to the nearest gay bar in town remains solely to be seen as a DVD extra, is a questionable choice of editing that underlines the fact that along the way some negatives remain in the mix, not least being the vanity of the man himself, with Simon only looking for 'Blue' in the faces of students with outer beauty, rather than the inner beauty of their heart. But for all that said, the result is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, one that is as joyous as it is upbeat and a perfect homage to the '80s teen films of John Hughes and the like. Frankly, need more be said?

›› check out the Official Trailer on YouTube.
›› posted: Monday, 15th February, 2021.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - from the waist up. 
Overall - file under ... 4 stars. 

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