Love, Simon (2018) Movie Review

love-simon-movie-trailer-nick-robinson

Summary: Simon Spier keeps a huge secret from his family, his friends, and all of his classmates: he’s gay. When that secret is threatened, Simon must face everyone and come to terms with his identity.
This movie is based on the book Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda.
Pros:
Cast and Characters.
  • Nick Robinson as Simon Spier. Simon is a regular kid with a regular family but he has a big secret. Simon is a sweet kid, he’s nice to everyone, he’s funny, he’s good-looking, he has a nice family and he’s like the every-man. He’s closeted because he’s worried at how his secret could disrupt things so he’s often thinking about that while also trying to find a way to be comfortable with himself. When he finds out that someone else in his school is gay, he latches on to that lifeline and they create a friendship through emails. Simon also falls to the fantasy where he starts to put faces on his mysterious emailer due to his interactions with guys. It’s really cute actually because we all do that. I like Simon, he’s just trying to find his way. I also really like Nick Robinson, he’s very likable in this role and he’s also super cute lol. I think he has this innocence about him, but also this earnestness that makes you root for him. He carries this movie on his shoulders and he does such a great job.
Supporting Characters. I almost put Simon’s friends with Simon, but I realized this movie is Simon’s movie, his friends are kind of outliers but still important.
  • Katherine Langford as Leah Burke. She one of Simon’s best friends and they have a cute friendship. They’ve been friends for a long time so they’re obviously comfortable with each other and as the story continues, things are shown about her that I think are obvious but sure. I like Katherine Langford, she’s pretty and energetic and quirky.
  • Alexandra Shipp as Abby Suso. She is one of Simon’s best friends and I think she’s probably the next most important in the friend group since it’s because of Martin’s interest in her but she’s new to the town. We learn the most about her out of the friends, but she’s sweet, pretty, energetic, a social butterfly and seemingly fearless which perhaps shows why all of the guys like her. So far, Alexandra Shipp has made up for her lackluster run as Aaliyah and she’s fun to watch. Abby was likable and someone I can see a lot of people wanting to be friends with in these movie worlds.
  • Jorge Lendeborg Jr. as Nick Eisner. He is one of Simon’s best friends and he plays soccer. He seems like a cool dude but at the same he’s kind of awkward. It’s really cute. He, Simon and Leah were friends for a long while and it’s easy to see that they’ve known each other longer but Nick could be the cool one of the group but Jorge doesn’t really play it that way. Nick just seems like the athletic kid who is also a every man. I’ve never seen Jorge in anything but he’s very likable.
  • Logan Miller as Martin Addison. Martin is a theater kid, who is a bit quirky but underhanded. He has a massive, obvious crush on Abby and he uses what he finds out about Simon to make him help him get closer to Abby. He’s kind of awkward and not considered a “cool” or even a “normal” kid but as the movie progresses, we see different sides of him and he becomes likable… kind of and a sort of friend to the main group. I saw Logan Miller in Before I Fall, and I liked him in that and I liked him in this too, his character was a mix between being likable and unlikable which he does well. There’s a good balance.
The Story. Just as Simon says when he’s introducing the story, he has a normal life, but he has a huge ass secret. Throughout the film, we see Simon go through his senior year of high school, dealing with the fact that he’s not alone in being closeted. He’s never told anyone, and sometimes he has to pretend just to keep his secret. But someone from his school anonymously comes out on their Gossip Girl blog and he starts emailing them since he’s found someone he can relate too. They have a pen pal like relationship but Martin sees his emails and blackmails Simon to help him get close to Abby. I like the whole thing of him emailing the stranger and how every time he meets a guy, he puts their face on the person he’s emailing, that’s cute because we all do that. I like the story of “I need to be comfortable with who I am” and how he wants to come out on his own terms. It gave depth to Simon’s character and made his emotional moments feel that more emotional. I’ll talk about the blackmail thing later because I didn’t really care for that part.
The Family Dynamic. I really liked the family dynamic in this movie. It was just a family of four, Jennifer Gardner as Emily Spier, his mother, she was supportive and cool. Josh Duhamel as Jack Spier, who used to be the quarterback but he’s like the cool dad and he has a great scene at the end with Simon at the end. Also, Talitha Bateman as Nora Spier, Simon’s little sister and I thought they felt like a family. They were a normal suburban family and they got along well, they were supportive of each other and his parents were cool. It was a modern family. It was a bit perfect but I guess in a way, that was the point where Simon felt out-of-place at times. I really liked his relationship with his dad, especially the scene between them at the end. I also loved the scene with his mom in the living room. They really felt like a family. I believed they were related, that they loved each unconditionally. The Spiers were a great unit.
The Friendship Group. I really enjoyed watching this friend group. Of course, they’re teenagers probably living in 2017, with their pop culture references and what not, and it was cute. Nick, Simon and Leah felt like they’d been friends for a long time and that Abby fit right in without a hitch. Their dynamic was realistic, I mean it’s based on a YA novel and most times these friends groups are a bit exaggerated, I mean there may be kids who act like this, I’ve only met them in books and movies… and when I studied abroad (but they all went to NYU which pretty much puts them in that category… no offence so any of y’all who read this lol)… I think I got off topic. BUT, I’m just saying that I liked the group, they felt like friends, they had great chemistry together and when the drama was revealed, they had realistic reactions.
It’s Emotional. I’ve gone through a lot this past week, so I’ve been emotional anyway, but I cried quite a few times during this. Nick Robinson did such a great job in his role, that in his moments where it’s just him, where he’s sad and emotional, I felt all of that. The scene where he’s angry and hurt, I really felt bad for him (not pity) and it made me tear up because he just did such a good job at showing his fear. I understand the conversation between him and his mom where she said he deserved everything he wants and more and that entire conversation… it was beautiful. My mom tells me the same things, about life, and being an adult and I felt that. It was genuine emotion. I also loved the scene with his dad at the end, that was really sweet and I think it was a big moment considering how his dad would joke throughout the film.
There are laughs. It’s pretty funny too. I wouldn’t label it a comedy but it does have its moments in there where you laugh or you might chuckle. I think a lot of it is the dialogue and how it’s delivered. Nick Robinson delivers dialogue that’s funny because of how he says it, or how he set its up. It’s definitely a feel-good movie.
The Musical Score. Now, I didn’t pay attention to all of it during the movie but there were a lot of movies that were really lovely that were accompanied by good music, but I went back and listened to the soundtrack on Apple Music and I really liked it.
Cons:
Predictable/Familiar. Being a teen movie, there are some beats that will definitely be hit. Oh you know, romance and then the one who lies to keep a secret, that whole thing and throughout the movie, I was predicting what would happen and I was right every time. Nothing really shocked me as the story progressed. Of course it’s hard to talk about teen movies, or “coming-of-age” films without them all feeling like ghosts of each other. While I very much enjoyed Love, Simon, it definitely has a lot of similar beats from other teen movies that don’t always feel fresh. Just something I noticed but not that much of a hit against the movie.
The Martin Blackmail. I also didn’t care for the blackmail story line. I get it, and while I had a love/hate relationship with Martin, I didn’t like how what he does is the driving force for a lot of Simon’s behavior later. I mean, it’s a teen movie so there has to be some kind of “villain” but that part just didn’t hit me as something that should have been part of the story. If it was there to force Simon out, it didn’t have to happen that way. I just… it just didn’t do anything for me. Plus, he doesn’t really get in trouble for what he did, yeah people get mad at him but nothing happens to him. No real consequences.
The Liar’s Reveal. So this trope happens a lot, where the protagonist of the story is lying about something in order to gain something, and then all is revealed later that they were a liar. IE: Aladdin. I think that trope is a bit cliché but it happens, shoot, I probably used it before in a story or something but that doesn’t make it any less annoying. So, while this movie does it and the way it’s handled of why Simon is doing what he’s doing, I still didn’t really like how his friends reacted. I think it was natural for them to be upset because don’t get me wrong, Simon does some pretty terrible stuff to his friends for his secret. I mean, it was definitely selfish and I would have said something to them because I’m not one to be blackmailed into something, but what he does is underhanded. However, they’re still his friends and something happens in the cafeteria that was extremely disrespectful and they did nothing. That really bugged me story wise. I know you’re mad but he was your friend for a long time, especially Nick and Leah. Man. That really annoyed me.
Overall, I really enjoyed Love, Simon. It is definitely a movie that people can go and see and just watch as this kid becomes confident in who he is and that those who love him, will always love him no matter what. I think the acting is really good in the movie, especially by Nick Robinson who does such a good job at just being a teenager. This movie has a great cast but Nick Robinson is the strongest aspect of the movie. Simon is a likable guy, he’s a normal dude and that’s what matters over everything. I loved Nick Robinson, he doesn’t try to do anything special, he just is. He’s very likable and cute and I see great things for him, if he keeps choosing good roles and movies. The other characters are also good as are their actors. I love the soundtrack. The movie is emotional, the moments that call for tears, might actually produce them, even the the people who don’t normally cry or tear up in movies. It’s also funny. It doesn’t hammer anything but the humor flows naturally. I also loved the dynamic of Simon’s family and friend group. My only problems with the movie is that while it’s special and put Simon’s character in the middle of a regular story, it just feels regular to me. I think movies that are similar should be able to stand on their own, without me thinking “oh that reminds me of that movie…” IE: The Breakfast Club, Clueless, Mean Girls (which pains me to say), Perks of Being a Wallflower… and I really dislike the trope of the “liar’s reveal” just because you can see it coming. But Love, Simon is sweet, emotional and I’m sure this movie will resonate for a lot of viewers. Also shout out to Natasha Rothwell as the drama teacher, she was great and a scene stealer!! Hilarious!
Rating: 4.89 out of 5 stars.
Have you seen Love, Simon? What did you think about it? Let me know your thoughts down below!
What is your favorite teen movie?
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