Ever come across a generic pop song that gets stuck in your head on a loop and stays there? You know there’s better songs, underappreciated musicians out there that deserve your time and ears. Nevertheless, this one song inspires you despite yourself.
There are countless movies that fit this description and act as chicken soup to your soul for unfathomable reasons. But normally when a new one comes out, it’s met with eye rolls. ‘Love, Simon‘ is one of these movies- but in this case, it’s ability to come across as commonplace is what makes it so special.
However, it’s the first major studio backed teen comedy featuring a gay protagonist. Based on the book ‘Simon Vs the Homosapiens Agenda’ by Becky Albertalli, it revolves around 17-year old Simon Spier, who has a picture-perfect life – doting parents, lifelong friends and zero street cred. The only problem is, he’s harbouring a secret regarding his sexual orientation. His “normal” life starts skidding when a foe leaps past the concept of privacy and uses his secret as blackmail.
Directed by Greg Berlanti, the film features a cast as good looking as it’s rosy premise, with Nick Robinson (Simon), Katherine Langford (Leah), Alexandra Shipp (Abby) and Logan Miller (Martin), all pitching in. The “cool” parents are played by Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel.
Robinson is convincing as an upper middle-class teen facing a crisis, while the actors that play his supportive friends are charming as well, capping the movie with a Nora Ephron like glow. But the best scene in the movie, which closely trails one of the most remarkable scenes in Oscar nominee Call Me by Your Name, is championed by Jennifer Garner. In a film that circles around the protagonist’s reflectiveness and social connections, Simon’s interactions with his family establish soft dominance and stand out.
The movie is not without its faults, and plot inconsistencies feel like tiny smudges dirtying the otherwise perfect frame. The supporting actors, especially Langford’s Leah, have some great potential but don’t get the screen time they deserve. The thing is though, rom-coms can make you look past some glaring problems in anticipation of the euphoric endings- and Love, Simon manages just that. Quite simply, the movie is like a ride on the Ferris wheel, it’s predictable and you’re there to have fun.
Its achievements are not confined to be a conventional film on a subject that has always been treated differently – for better or for worse. It’s also gently conveying the thought that coming to terms with who you are is a hard task, even in a non- hostile environment. Some people must go through a life-altering process that others have the privilege of skipping past.
Love, Simon belongs on the shelf with movies like 10 Things I Hate About You and Mean Girls. It’s the one millennials will come back to while they’re in the middle of their mid-life crisis to help themselves to some nostalgia.
The movie’s tagline reads “Everyone deserves a love story.” It’s a heart-warming message, and when you leave the theatre, it might just convince you to believe in it too.