Love, Simon (2018)

Genres - Comedy Drama, Drama, Romance  |   Sub-Genres - Romantic Comedy, Romantic Drama, Teen Movie  |   Release Date - Mar 16, 2018 (USA)  |   Run Time - 109 min.  |   Countries - United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Terry Ip

Love, Simon has it all. Humor? Check. Really likable characters? Check. A good love story? Check. The list just keeps going for this high-school love-triangle rom com.

With friends who say "I love you," a caring family, and a beautiful home, protagonist Simon (Nick Robinson) doesn't seem like he has much to worry about. As he says, he's got a perfectly normal life like everyone else. His only problem is that nobody knows the truth about him -- that he's gay. Simon concedes that another schoolmate has already come out and he didn't suffer much for it. That begs the question: Why can't he simply tell everyone the truth about his sexuality?

Simon doesn't get a chance to make a decision either way. A classmate named Martin (Logan Miller) blackmails him, threatening to publicly expose him on a gossip blog that's popular with the students at their high school. What Martin wants in return is some help courting the spunky Abby (Alexandra Shipp), who is a close friend of Simon's. Not quite ready to out himself, Simon has no choice but to manipulate his friends in order to give Martin what he wants. Just as importantly, Simon finds his own love interest on the blog. A fellow closeted student wrote an anonymous post there, and left an email address. Simon begins a correspondence with the poster (who signs his emails as "Blue") and begins to fall in love. A messy web of romantic interests and conflicts results.

The movie's one flaw is the way it skims over Simon's fears about being outed. Blue describes his life as like a ride on a Ferris wheel -- top of the world one moment, and rock bottom the next. While the audience never really feels that rock bottom the way that Blue and Simon do, it's forgivable because they do reach the top with Simon. The witty jabs sprinkled throughout will have viewers filling the movie theater with laughter, and the energetic soundtrack helps the film move along at a pleasant pace.

Of course, story and soundtrack alone can't achieve what Love, Simon manages to accomplish. The actors do the hard work of charming the audience. As seemingly perfect as the teens' lives appear on the surface, they're still flawed, sometimes awkward, and occasionally funny. The actors give endearing performances, which exude enough vulnerability that they feel utterly real.

The beauty of teenage romance, in all its bashful and earnest glory, is on full display here. Fans of movies like Pretty in Pink and Some Kind of Wonderful are bound to fall completely in love with this film. Love, Simon captures what it feels like to be a teenager in love, which is oh-so-lovely a thing.