The new film Love, Simon (2018) is a great example of what a romantic comedy can be. Every aspect of the film is well constructed from cinematography, acting, writing, and direction. There are tons of laughs especially by the school’s faculty who don’t seem to exist in reality as they say what teachers are probably thinking but would be fired for saying. The film is a lot of fun and brings the romance.
Love, Simon woos the audience with its charm and comedy
Simon (Nick Robinson) is a normal high school kid in his senior year except that he has a big secret; he’s gay. His family is loving and his friends are loyal but he feels that revealing this secret will change the way everyone looks at him. When another student anonymously posts on a popular gossip blog that he shares the same secret, Simon reaches out to him and a secret romance begins to bloom.
One of the best aspects of this movie is the dream sequence type moments when Simon is grappling with his secret. There is a scene where he narrates his hopes that he could finish high school being the kid everyone has always believed him to be and start college as the gay guy. It shows him setting up his dorm room and walking out into a gay pride musical number. It’s a great scene that ends on a solid comedic note. There is also a scene like this that played in the trailer posing the question as to why straight was the default and only gay people having to “come out.” The film then poses alternate scenarios where kids, his friends in the film, come out as straight to their parents who are all heartbroken at the news.
Of course, none of those scenes would work if not for the acting abilities of the young cast. Nick Robinson has proven he is a great leading man in The Kings of Summer, Jurrasic World, and even last years Everything, Everything. However, this performance is his strongest. He manages to bring the same charisma he has had in the other films but offsets it with a quiet vulnerability. The tension this weakness creates for the character is felt by the audience making the movie feel a bit like a thriller at times. Every awkward moment or quiet uneasiness Simon feels is felt by the crowd who is desperately looking for him to reveal his biggest secret so we can let out a sigh of relief.
The teachers are surreal, but it works
Ms. Albright (Natasha Rothwell) and Mr. Worth (Tony Hale) are two minor characters who get some of the funnier moments. Both are far too open to the students and say what’s on their mind in ways that would surely get them fired. Mr. Worth is the assistant principal and talks to Simon about his pending Tinder date and that even teachers like to have sex. Where Ms. Albright is the drama teacher who isn’t thrilled with her position, but also seems to have a certain level of expectations for student behavior. She yells at a couple of students who aren’t very tolerant of others in one of the best rants from a teacher to a student ever.
There is a chance that this film won’t resonate with viewers though as Simon’s life is pretty normal. His biggest problem is himself and having a lead character who may be severely unrelatable can be alienating to the audience. It’s outright stated in the film that his life is pretty much perfect. However, fear of losing the people that make his life feel that way is clearly his motivation for keeping the secret. Still, this could make some audience members not connect with Simon and take them out of the film. Fortunately, I didn’t have that problem and found the film very enjoyable.
Love, Simon works with every beat of the story. The high school drama that makes his situation harder, the choices he makes to keep his secret, and the solid cast makes the film entertaining. There were few missteps and lots to love about it. Love, Simon is a Must See film.