Based on the 2012 young adult novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapien’s Agenda by Becky Albertalli, Love, Simon chronicles Simon Spier’s life as he walks the tightrope that is high school.
Simon (Nick Robinson) is a relatively typical teenager. Well, one living the upper-middle-class experience that is. He’s the product of a two-parent home. One where his successful parents Jack (Josh Duhamel) and Leah (Jennifer Garner) both still live at home, have great jobs, and still actually like each other. He a great relationship with his family, even his little sister. Simon’s place in his family is on solid ground.
Simon’s place at school is pretty secure. He has a great crew of friends that anchor his place among his schoolmates. Simon Spier doesn’t stand out but he’s not unknown. But, he’s got a secret that’s about to up-end his entire life as he knows it.
Because Simon’s gay and no one knows it; not even his closest friends.
Why Love, Simon Works
From the moment Love, Simon starts, it feels familiar. All the visuals and imagery are familiar right down to his Dad walking into his room without knocking. You may not be Simon, but you know a Simon. Simon Spier’s a sixteen-year-old who starts an anonymous email exchange with a fellow schoolmate “Blue” after seeing their post about being in the closet and how it makes him feel. In everyone’s worse nightmare come to life, Martin (Logan Miller) – another classmate – sees Simon’s emails and screenshots them. And because humans suck on many levels, Martin decides this is the perfect way to force Simon to help him get the attention of one of his best friends Abby (Alexandra Shipp). And this is where things begin to get complicated for Simon. Faced with a choice between being outed online and seeing his emails with Blue splashed across the school’s social media network, Simon puts his friendships at risk in order to protect himself. Love, Simon is a reminder to always make sure you’ve logged out.
This Script and Cast Are Dead On
One of the screenwriters for this script writes for This is Us. That alone should clue-you-in to the level of emotional depth these characters are capable of. Thankfully, the onscreen performances match the quality of the writing. There are no false or insincere performances in Love, Simon. The dialogue feels fresh, relevant and relatable. The cast is emotionally available without coming across as trying too hard or being too mature, and the adults provide perfect support without shifting the story focus from the main character, like in almost all of the films best comedic moments.
With Simon as our narrator – let’s hear it for perfect use of an internal monologue – the audience is dialed in and intimately aware of his thoughts and feelings in a way that deepens its connection to the action as it plays out. this group of teenagers forms a power dynamic that perfectly highlights high school friendship, every socially awkward moment that is high school and juxtaposes it against the landscape of choices and hard lessons that lessons that make “adulting” simply exhausting. It’s not doom and gloom despite the threat hanging over this kid’s head but the fall out from his behavior keeps this film from feeling inauthentic. Love, Simon isn’t all hearts and flowers. The choices made the storytelling from beginning to end is practically pitch perfect.
I’m About to Date Some of My Geeky Influences.
I love John Hughes films. If they come on television, I’m watching no matter the day or time. Any ’80s movie marathon isn’t complete without a full complement of Hughes films. Hughes films captured a certain angst, imagery, youthful lens and sense of disaffected rebellion that held sway society for a decade. Hughes films changed how film and television represent the teenage experience across the board. They idealized a way of looking at the world from through a teenage lense that changed the shape of pop culture forever. The creators of Love, Simon wanted to lean into the ethos that made a Hughes movie work. With giddy delight and film geek glee, I say they more than succeeded.
Love, Simon is relatable, subversive in its simplicity, riddled with complicated messaging, and hilariously touching. All the elements you need to make a Hughes’ film in a modern setting.