Love, Simon: A Movie Review

Monday, April 30, 2018

I had the chance to catch a preview screening of Love, Simon a week ago, and here I am finally writing about it. The film is an adaptation of a young adult novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. I've had my eye on this film since Nick Robinson was casted as Simon Spier (I'm a huge fan of Nick) and seeing as how this movie was released in the United States in mid-March, I couldn't escape from the countless spoilers on Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.

BACKGROUND
The film starts off with a monologue by Simon Spier, a closeted gay teen, where he introduces himself and his best friends, Nick, Leah and Abby. He has known the former two since they were kids and Abby had just transferred in earlier on in the year. He has a loving family: younger sister Nora (played by Talitha Bateman from Annabelle: Creation!!) who’s absolutely adorable and ridiculously good-looking parents Emily and Jack Spier (Jennifer Garner & Josh Duhamel).

Simon begins an anonymous email correspondence with another boy hiding behind a pseudonym - “Blue”, from his school. As Simon’s relationship with the enigmatic “Blue” progresses, a lot of drama happens. His quest to keep his sexuality a secret, crashes into his relationships with his friends. This is a story about friendship, betrayal, self-discovery and love - it's incredibly heartwarming, definitely tear-inducing, and you're going to leave with a smile (and tear-stained cheeks).

Simon Spier (Nick Robinson). Photo by Twentieth Century Fox.

WHAT I LIKED
This movie was a rollercoaster ride for me. It’s funny and emotional and joyous and you better prepare yourself for the tears that’s gonna come. I’m pretty sure I cried throughout the entire second half of the movie. It’s very real, it’s very personal and it’s both heart wrenching and heart-warming. I don’t know if this is considered a spoiler - probably not - but he gets outed and he’s dealing with that while also trying to figure out “Blue”’s identity.

A lot of people like to say that being queer is “not a big deal” anymore and that everyone’s fine with it but it’s so far from the truth. We’ve definitely progressed a little, but homophobia is still rampant and bullying is still very much a thing, especially in high school. I liked that the film highlighted that issue, as well as the consequences of outing somebody. A lot of the pressure also came from within, and Simon questions “Why is straight the default?” Why do only non-straight people have to come out and make this declaration about themselves?

Anyway, I’m trying my best not to give any spoilers here for those who haven’t read the book yet. I’ve pretty much known who “Blue” was since casting news came out but I still felt the wonder and suspense while Simon’s trying to figure out which of his schoolmates was “Blue”. Ugh the ferris wheel scene you guys, THE GODDAMN FERRIS WHEEL SCENE.

Simon & Leah. Photo by Twentieth Century Fox.

Is this a spoiler?? I’m gonna label this as a spoiler. 
- SPOILERS -
Simon came out to his family on Christmas morning and there were a lot of tears and silence but the conversations he had with his parents afterwards... they were sweet. (I’m not crying I just have a tree branch in my eye, I swear). His parents are loving, kind and liberal-minded so acceptance was very... quick? (Asian parents are generally more homophobic sorrynotsorry). Simon’s parents are the kind of parents I aspire to be, should I decide to be a parent someday. [Jennifer Garner made Nick Robinson actually cry during that one scene they had after he came out. The feels!!!]
The Spier family. Photo by Twentieth Century Fox.

I gushed about this movie for days after watching it and I can’t wait to watch it again with my very gay best friend later this week. This is the first teenage rom-com released by a major film studio with a gay lead and it’s definitely an important milestone for LGBTQ representation. It’s rated R21 in Singapore, which means that anyone below 21 will not be allowed to watch this movie (legally) in cinemas (It’s PG13 in the USA) so I’m pissed about that. A petition has been made to lower the rating and it has 18k signatures as of this moment but I doubt the R21 rating will change in time for the movie release in Singapore (May 3rd, 2018)

So yeah please watch “Love, Simon” in the cinemas once it’s out. This movie is amazing and if you believe that people should be seeing characters and stories that they can relate to and see themselves be represented on the big screen, please please support this movie and all the joy it’ll bring you.

My rating: ★★★★★★★★★★★★ (times infinity)

Cast: Nick Robinson, Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp, Jorge Lendeborg Jr.
Director: Greg Berlanti
Language: English
Runtime: 110 minutes
Rating: R21 - Homosexual Theme
Release: 03 May 2018

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