Announcing to the world who you are is terrifying

Announcing to the world who you are is terrifying

Review: Love, Simon

(M) Nick Robinson, Katherine Langford, Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel

Love, Simon is a sweet ode to the coming of age film genre and it is as heart-warming and as honest as they come.

Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) is introduced to the audience as just a regular guy—that is, he’s from a well-off family living comfortably in  suburbia. His parents are still happily married and he has a sister he actually gets along with. There’s just one detail he hasn’t mentioned to his friends and family yet; he’s gay. He grapples on why he hasn’t come out yet or why he has to, considering heterosexual people don’t have to come out as straight. All the while, Simon is trying to find out who the anonymous classmate he’s been messaging online because well, he’s fallen in love with the mystery guy.

Love, Simon is based on the novel titled Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. The film adaption is backed by studio giant 20 Century Fox, which is a novelty for a coming of age teen film with a gay protagonist.

The young, up-and-coming cast showed commitment to the story making their friendships, conflicts and high school dilemmas, believable.

Nick Robinson (Jurassic World) portrayed Simon in such a light that you were rooting for him the whole time. With every awkward attempt at flirting or anxious email checking, you hoped he would get his great love story.  Aussie actors Katherine Langford (13 Reasons Why), Keiynan Lonsdale (The Divergent Series: Allegiant) also held their own as supporting characters.

Jennifer Garner (Wakefield) and Josh Duhamel (Transformer: The Last Knight) brought experience as Simon’s parents that rounded out the cast and gave a wholesome depiction of their onscreen family dynamic. Their interactions with Simon, especially after he came out, were absolute tear-jerkers. You could feel Simon’s relief when Garner’s character turns to him and says that he can finally exhale after telling his secret.

Simon puts it best when he says, “Announcing to the world who you are is terrifying.” This poignantly positioned how nerve-wrecking it is to come out to family and friends, with the prospect of the whole school finding out and complete rejection from those you care about. It’s important for teens to have an open space to talk about these issues and sexuality and if someone decides to come out, it should be done on their own terms.

The film also looked at how bullying and backlash is still prevalent for people who come out as part of the LGBTQI community even though western society is seemingly more aware of bullying and its tragic affects.

One scene where a teacher eloquently stopped two student’s hate speech in the cafeteria, had the cinema audience literally cheering.

The mix of humour and more serious emotional exploration was blended well in the film, this is credit to the script, the film’s director Greg Berlanti (Riverdale) and the more than capable cast.

Disclaimer: If this film’s description challenges your personal views or religious beliefs, Love, Simon is not about to change your mind.

It’s a feel-good teen film, after all, which means it doesn’t push the boundaries like say Call Me By Your Name. There is a kiss between two guys but that is about it for the sexual content.

Love, Simon shows a different perspective of a young guy coming to terms with who he is and falling in love for the first time. The film’s tagline is everyone deserves a great love story.

This should be a conversation starter, devoid of insults, that helps us understand others around us and their personal world experience.

Melissa Stewart

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