Grab the tissues and prepare to cry, laugh and then cry some more. ‘Love, Simon’ is a beautiful story about a young teenager grappling with his sexuality — but is the film too vanilla?
Nick Robinson, 22, continues to prove that he is one of Hollywood’s most talented young actors on the scene. In Love, Simon, Nick portrays Simon Spier, a senior in high school who is hiding his sexuality from everyone. Simon’s life is near perfect: his parents have been together for decades, his sister is adorable, he lives in a nice house, drives his own car, and has a solid group of friends at school. What’s not perfect? Simon struggling with his identity as his life is about to change drastically by graduating high school and going away to college. Nick is incredible to watch on film as he delivers a strong emotional performance, especially when his world comes crashing down around his feet. The only problem? It all feels a bit too… polished.
Things get interesting for Simon when an anonymous student from his school writes into their “secrets” blog (think Gossip Girl, but on Reddit) revealing that he’s gay. Simon reaches out via email and the two begin communicating regularly, causing Simon to fall in love with his mystery suitor. Sadly, Simon’s secret email affair is put in serious danger when an obnoxious student, Martin (Logan Miller), accidentally finds his Gmail account. Martin has his eyes on one of Simon’s best friends, Abby (Alexandra Shipp), and essentially uses screen grabs of the emails between Simon and his anonymous suitor to blackmail the teen into getting Abby to date him. Spoiler alert: it doesn’t work and, out of pure spite and humiliation, Martin releases Simon’s emails on their “secrets” blog. This is the point in the movie where Nick really, truly steals your heart as he is now forced to come out on his own to his family and friends. There is no right time, so he chooses Christmas morning. It goes… well, to be honest there isn’t a word to describe how it goes. His mother, portrayed by Jennifer Garner, seems confused but okay with it while his father, Josh Duhamel, immediately begins crying and walks out of the room. Yikes.
How does that seem polished, you ask? Because it only takes a few minutes (or days in the movie’s time frame) for everything to be perfectly fine. Simon’s mom reveals through tears how relieved she is to know her son is finally being himself for the world, while his dad tells him how proud he is of his son’s bravery. In fact things go much less smoother with Simon’s friends who eventually find out about his scheme to set up Abby and Martin in order to keep his own secret safe. Friends aside, there is the fact that his entire school (including the hilariously placed Tony Hale as the Vice Principal) now knows his secret. Plus, his anonymous pen pal, and the only person who could possibly understand what Simon is going through, decides to vanish in fear of being outed next. Huge bummer.
I won’t spoil the ending for you, but I can tell you this not-so-surprising news: everything works out. In short, Love, Simon is a very sweet, charming movie about what it’s like to be a modern teenager in a modern world. While his parents, family and friends are much more understanding than most, it’s still nice to get some insight into how a young man truly struggles with his identity once he realizes he is a gay man. Nick’s portrayal of Simon is wonderful to watch whether he’s making you laugh or cry, and we’re really looking forward to seeing where his career is headed next!
Tell us, HollywoodLifers — Will YOU be seeing Love, Simon when it hits theaters on March 16? Comment below, let us know!