“Love, Simon” is probably the first teen love story to bring tears to my eyes. It’s no Nicholas Spark cliche piece of crap or romances between monsters and humans; it’s a bromance story-the kind that needs to be private, until they both come out of the closet.
We’ve seen wonderful gay love stories in “Moonlight” or “Call Me By Your Name,” and it’s not often we seen mass-market gay love stories so touching as “Love, Simon.”
We meet Simon (Nick Robinson), a high school kid with great friends and a loving family (Josh Duhamel and Jennifer Garner as his parents and Talitha Bateman as his baker sister), and yet, nobody knows he’s gay. He finds a post online about a guy with an alias Blue, who comes out of the closet. So, Simon gets a Gmail account, and messages him with the name Jacques, and he communicates with him about when they both have come to terms about their interests. And throughout the movie, he makes many assumptions on who Blue is.
His friends are Leah (Katherine Langford), who has a crush on him; Abby (Alexandra Shippe), who has been trying to settle in his town after her parents divorced; and Nick (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.), who has a crush on Abby.
And then, a weirdo named Martin (Logan Miller) finds his message to Blue, and threatens to blackmail him, unless he can get Abby to like him. So, Simon has to keep his friends apart to keep his secret. At times, we cringe at his attempts to swoon Abby, like in Waffle Houses or at the school game, but his character reminds us of Geek from “Sixteen Candies” with his unusual taste.
Looking at “Love, Simon,” I’m constantly thinking: “They just don’t make them like they used to.” It has a certain kind of John Hughes quality mixed with today’s reality. Teens can or can’t come out of the closet, and that’s what this movie is about.
I think Robinson gives his best performance as Simon, because he has feelings, ambition, and dreams. And through it all, it wouldn’t be a love story without struggles and heart.
The movie was directed by Greg Berlanti (“Life As We Know It”) and based on Becky Albertalli’s novel “Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda.” I’ve made the right decisions on skipping the recent worst teen romances, such as the “Fifty Shades” sequels; but I’ve also made the right choice of seeing “Love, Simon” for what it was-a sweet, emotional, and humorous take on a young closet gay teen’s life.