Director: Greg Berlanti
Writers: Elizabeth Berger and Isaac Aptaker
Starring: Nick Robinson
I am a straight white dude and this film still managed to leave me emotionally compromised.
Thanks to the magical world of Cineworld Unlimited membership last night I got the chance to see Love, Simon nearly a whole month before its release in UK cinemas. If I’m being brutally honest I was at first disappointed. With big blockbuster releases such as Ready Player One and Pacific Rim: Uprising right around the corner I went into the secret screening with the hope that it’d be one of them. But in hindsight I’m glad that this was the film we got to watch, not just because I enjoyed it, but because I may otherwise not have gone to see the film and I would have been missing out.
Love, Simon was pitched to me as a romantic comedy that deals with a young man struggling with the concept of coming out as gay. But it was so much more than that. At times the film often strays into the territory of “teen drama”, but these are moments that it almost certainly earns over the course of its 1hour 49 minute runtime and it never feels cheesy or cliche when doing so. The film packs a real emotional weight and significance that most other rom-coms do not, and the credit for that goes down to a dream team of director, writers and actors. Nick Robinson (Simon) wasn’t blowing anyone out of the water with his performance in the 2015 box office juggernaut Jurassic World, but he certainly pulls it off here. His journey that the film takes you on invests you so much that it had the audience weeping and literally cheering, a feat that is certainly not easy to achieve.
But what makes it so easy for this film to reel in its audience is because it is so relatable and believable. All the characters came across as real people, and really strong performances from Jennifer Garner (Emily), Josh Duhamel (Jack), Katherine Langford (Leah) and Alexandra Shipp (Abby) all help to not only prop up Nick Robinson’s performance, but enhance it. Together they create a cast of characters that feel like they are all related or best friends in real life and that is something that so many films fail at.
There is also the obvious larger connotations that this film comes with which need to be addressed. The LGBT community is drastically under-represented in Hollywood, and whilst things are improving, on the whole it’s still not great. So it was not only refreshing, to see a movie centred around the struggles of a young gay man, but it was important for us a society. This film, without treading into hyperbole, could be an inspiration for thousands of people who are going through the very same struggles that Simon did, and whilst many people in the real world aren’t fortunate enough to have the support system in place that Simon did, this is at least a great leap in the right direction.
That isn’t to say that the film is perfect though. There are some aspects of the story direction that I didn’t agree with, but I will refrain from going into detail so as to avoid spoilers, and some of the side characters could have done with a tad more development. But these aren’t groundbreaking issues by any stretch of the imagination.
If you get the chance you should definitely go and see this film, it is well worth your time and following on from Black Panther it is likely to have similar connotations for our society and that is something you should want to be a part of.
Final score: 8/10 Porgs.