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Charming, Funny, and Full of Heart; Love, Simon Review

Grace Griego, Arts and Entertainment Editor

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Over spring break, I went to San Francisco with my family. During our time in a big city, we took full advantage of seeing movies that probably wouldn’t end up coming to Bishop, this included Love, Simon. Much to my gleeful surprise, Love, Simon did actually end up coming to this town which is a pretty great feat in itself. It’s no secret that Bishop as a whole is a fairly conservative town, so to see a movie that is about a love story between two boys come here was a pleasant surprise. Moving away from that, Love, Simon is an incredibly heartwarming, funny, witty, and well written film that has the typical rom com cliches, without feeling contrived.

The A Team; Simon and his friends take on their junior year together! Photo by 20th Century Fox.

I am a big fan of the book that Love, Simon was based on (Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda), so I admit I was a bit worried about how this story would translate to the big screen. Obviously, it wasn’t exactly like the book and I was disappointed that a few of my favorite scenes from the book were left out from the movie, but overall, I still loved the movie. I’ll try to stay away from comparing the book to the movie in this review, though. SPOILERS AHEAD!

I’m Just Like You; Simon and his friends cheer on Nick. Photo by 20th Century Fox.

My favorite thing about this movie was the characters. There were no cookie cutter characters and they all felt like real teengagers. Simon is a complete dork, Nick is hilarious, Abby is absolutely charming, and Leah was adorable. They played off of each other in a way that felt real and talked about awkward things like sex and love like actual teenagers would. I fell in love with this group of friends and this movie made me want to be apart of their group. Even the main antagonist film was well fleshed out. I didn’t hate Martin entirely. When he outed Simon, I was completely furious with him and would punch him if given the chance, but he was just too pathetic to hate entirely. I felt bad for Martin. He was just a pathetic awkward kid who didn’t have any friends. The only way Martin got to have any “friends” was through pressure. He blackmailed Simon to get close to Abby, he yelled in a public restaurant to get Abby to yell with him too, he asked Abby out in front of a huge crowd to pressure her into saying yes, and was overall very manipulative. However Martin wasn’t some big bad bully. He turned out to be just a complete and utter loser.

Weird? Simon and Leah ponder adolescence. Photo by 20th Century Fox.

I have to say how refreshing it is to see a character like Simon onscreen. He’s awkward, funny, theatrical, sarcastic, and pretty much your average teenager. The thing is, he’s been hiding a part of him from everyone in his life, the fact that he’s gay. Like the marketing of this movie suggests, everyone deserves a great love story. I can’t fully tell you how adorable and heart warming this movie was. This is the kind of movie the LGBTQ+ community deserves. In mainstream media, the gay character is usually a side character with witty one liners, and if they do happen to be the main character, their love stories rarely work out. Their parents disown them for being gay, their lover ends up committing suicide, they end up dying of AIDS, their lover is married to someone else, and so on and so forth. Love, Simon gives insight into a happy relationship. Not only that, but what a welcoming group of friends and family is like. Some kids may never experience what Simon has and some are blessed enough to also be accepted for who they are. The scene with Simon and his mom brought me to tears. The analogy of being in the closet and holding your breath all your life just rings so true. Jennifer Garner makes a wonderful mother in this film and presents her loving relationship with her son perfectly in this film.

You Can Breathe Now, Simon. Simon’s mom assures him of her love. Photo by 20th Century Fox.

I also loved the scene with his dad. Simon’s dad never meant anything by his gay jokes and is obviously not a homophobic man, but they still hurt nonetheless. To grow up feeling like an essential part of you is a punchline can really mess a kid up, regardless of the harmless intent. Simon’s dad had some excellent dad jokes aside from those that left me cracking up. I actually saw this movie with my dad, and he laughed more at the dad jokes in the movie than anything else. The hug between Simon and his dad made my heart swell and the heartwarming spirit of this movie struck me yet again.  

Are We Good Parents? Simon’s mom and dad talk after Simon comes home drunk. Photo by 20th Century Fox.

I loved how this movie handled the entire coming out situation. They did it humorously, with one of the funniest scenes in cinematic history being Simon’s friends coming out to their parents as straight. It really showed the ridiculousness of it all, and really does beg the question of why is straight the default? Coming out to people over and over again gets to be really exhausting and in a perfect world, no one would have to come out at all! They would just be. No assumptions.

Comrades; Simon and Ethan bond in the principal’s office. Photo by 20th Century Fox.

Back to some of the characters. I’m glad that Ethan was in this movie as the openly gay kid. He was the expectation of what one would typically think of when they thought of a gay man. He was flamboyant and sassy. Ethan played into the stereotype of a gay man. But that’s perfectly okay! Simon’s also gay and is pretty much the opposite of Ethan. This parallel goes to show that the no cookie cutter characters rave I gave earlier in the article holds true, and shows that not every gay man is sassy and more feminine, and some are. Either way, it’s great! Ethan got development during the scene at the principal’s office when talking to Simon. Ethan, despite being out and proud, still faced a lot of prejudice and hate, especially at home where his mother would rave about all the girls chasing after him to the rest of Ethan’s family. On top of that, Love, Simon also beat the stereotype of “two boys who are gay must be dating!” to the ground with Simon and Ethan. Just because they’re both interested in men, does in no way mean they’re interested in each other!

The Aftermath. Simon faces the school after coming out. Photo by 20th Century Fox.

The most emotionally charged scenes in the movie of course came with the aftermath of Simon’s coming out. I applaud the writers and the actors for portraying the fear, anger, and anguish of being outed perfectly. Seeing Simon tell Martin to get away from him and then immediately breaking down in his car was just heartbreaking. Simon’s anger was beyond justified and even though it shouldn’t, coming out does really turn your whole world on its head. I could feel Simon’s raw fury and subsequent anguish perfectly.

The Gang’s All Here! Simon and his friends roll up to the Halloween party. Photo by 20th Century Fox.

Now to most emotionally uplifting scenes. Seeing Simon have the courage to sign his last contact with Blue as “Love, Simon” was honestly exhilarating. The ferris wheel scene. Was it cheesy as hell? Yes. Did I absolutely love it? Yes. Seeing two boys nervous yet completely enamored with each other was beyond cute and the support from Simon’s class and friends was inspiring. I also have to admit that I let out an audible “awww!” when Bram got into the passenger seat and gave his boyfriend, Simon, a quick peck.

Here I Go! Simon waits for the illusive Blue to show up on the ferris wheel. Photo by 20th Century Fox.

Now onto my complaints of the film. I felt like Simon and Blue didn’t get enough development together. In the book, we really see their relationship blossom through the emails and I just wish more of them were put in the movie to show how strong their relationship became. That way, we could see the thrill of first love even better. I also felt like Simon’s friends’ anger was just a bit unjustified. Simon had just gotten through hell and even when two homophobic jerks bullied Simon for being gay, they didn’t defend him. I understand that they were made at him for the whole Martin situation, but I feel like they should’ve put that anger behind them for a second to comfort their lifelong friend in his time of need. Lastly, what high school lets the kids put on Cabaret?! Definitely a little unrealistic there.

Post Presidency Barack Obama. Bram’s Halloween costume is simple but effective. Photo by 20th Century Fox.

As you can tell by the amount of what I loved vs. my criticisms of the film, I absolutely loved Love, Simon. The characters were realistic, the dialogue was witty and well written, the humor was spot on, and I left the theater with a goofy smile on my face from how smitten I was with this movie. I give Love, Simon 9/10 stars. Did you see Love, Simon? If so, let me know what you thought!

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Charming, Funny, and Full of Heart; Love, Simon Review