Review: 2.5 Palm Trees out of 4
by Manuel Reynoso
Love, Simon is a 2018 American romantic comedy-drama film directed by Greg Berlanti, written by Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, and based on the novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. The film stars Nick Robinson, Katherine Langford, Logan Miller, and Alexandra Shipp.
Threatened to be outed as gay by a blackmailer, Simon attempts to keep his sexual identity a secret as he attempts to learn the identity of the anonymous classmate he has fallen for over the internet.
I won’t fall into the trap of speaking as if I shared the same or similar experience growing up as an LGBTQ youth. So while I couldn’t tell you how effectively Love, Simon tells the age old story of a youth’s coming out process, It speaks volumes on the struggles one has with self-identity and love. While at times conflict can feel a bit contrived, Love, Simon was thoroughly heartwarming from start to finish. It will likely not make waves, but it’s just strong enough to give a good tug on your heartstrings.
I’m not one to ding a film for simplicity, but I can’t say Love, Simon did anything very revolutionary. It was a sweet and very charming movie, but still hit many of the same beats as other teen drama films. It has the usual themes of unrequited love, self-Identity, and acceptance one expects to find in a film of this sort. While these are important themes for all youth for sure, some felt a little underdeveloped.
The writing is where I felt a bit of a range in quality. There were some very novel moments written in the dialogue itself. It’s difficult to discuss without reducing the impact of the scene, but there was some clever wordplay throughout the film, culminating in a powerful scene thanks to said wordplay. So while this was a definite high point for me in the film, there were other moments of cliché that bring it down a bit. That along with the overall quality of the production really hurts the film.
I’m always conflicted when the cast of the film does great, but feels out of place. I am never going to get over seeing clear adults casted to play what are supposed to be children. I’m sorry if your acting chops are great, but seeing 5 o’clock shadow on a “child” takes me right out of it. I hate to sound nitpicky, but there has to be some level of realism or else my suspension of disbelief goes right out the window. Typically I go a bit more in depth on things such as camera work and other technical aspects, but I just found them to be par for the course. Not bad, but definitely not great.
I did hope that Love, Simon offered more than what I got, but there was enough there for me to recommend the film. Any gripes aside, it’s a simple story about finding love for an LGBTQ youth and every bit of that was heartwarming. Love, Simon may not be destined to become part of teen pop culture, but it’s strong enough to be memorable. Rated Pg-13 1h49m