Director Greg Berlanti
Cast Nick Robinson, Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel, Talitha Eliana Bateman
Release Date March 16th, 2018
From director Greg Berlanti (Life as We Know It), Love, Simon is a coming-of-age drama about a high school teenager who is struggling with his sexual identity. The film is based on the novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, written by author Becky Albertalli. The book was published in April 2015 and was the American author’s debut novel. The cast includes Nick Robinson, Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel, and Talitha Eliana Bateman.
A genuinely heartwarming experience and a true breath of fresh air, Love, Simon is an absolute must see and easily the coming-of-age movie of the year. I’m not embarrassed to admit that I am a sucker for a good coming-of-age film, a few of my favorites that are sadly a bit under the radar include Me and Earl and the Dying Girl and Hunt for the Wilderpeople. This is one of those rare examples that seems to get pretty much everything right. The first thing I noticed was how perfect the cast was, from Simon, to his family, to all of his friends and “sort of” friends. The high school setting is very well done and feels authentic. The balance of comedy and drama is prevalent throughout without sacrificing one or the other. As a follow-up to his comedy drama Life as We Know It, director Greg Berlanti is amazing behind the camera, and I really enjoyed the soundtrack which was the perfect mix of old and new. I have yet to read the book (I know, I’m on it), so I can’t speak from experience as to how close the adaptation is, however I feel pretty confident it is spot on. Two of my favorite book to film adaptations include The Fault in Our Stars and more recently Wonder, and I think this is on par with those.
When a film is successful in adapting a popular novel it always has a creative feel to it that somehow makes you feel like you are watching a book unfold on-screen. From the use of narration to the way each new character is introduced, it all feels very seamless. About a quarter of the way through the movie I felt a closeness to the characters that fully immersed me in what was unfolding on-screen, and that really is a tremendous feeling. Considering the subject matter Love, Simon remains neutral and never feels like it is trying to push an agenda, instead it coveys the opposite massage which is universal acceptance. Watching the relationship between Simon and his father develop throughout the movie is really something special. For me, that aspect felt like a life lesson in the struggles that come with parenting, and how difficult it can be to truly know and understand your kids, especially as they transition into the ever so complicated teen years. I just hope that some of the more closed-minded people give Live, Simon a chance because I really think they will thoroughly enjoy it, and maybe even learn to appreciate people from all walks of life. I also really liked how all of the events that took place felt natural, and I think that was paramount to the success of the film. Now, I’m not trying to preach to you I promise, but I do believe that as human beings nobody is perfect and we all have our flaws, and the sooner we accept that the easier life becomes- that I do believe.
The cast for Love, Simon is absolutely perfect. Even though I have yet to read the book (again, it’s on my list), I can’t imagine a better actor than Nick Robinson to take on the role of Simon. Robinson lights up the screen and portrays a smart, funny, yet very complex character to a tee. Even though I was extremely impressed by Robinson’s performance I couldn’t place him as far as any other movies or shows that I’ve seen him in. When I started working on my review, I discovered that Robinson played the lead role in one of my favorite coming-of-age films, The Kings of Summer (2013). Even though it’s only been 5 years, Robinson hit quite a growth spurt and I didn’t even recognize him. I also learned that after a great performance in The Kings of Summer, he was next able to snag a role in the film Jurassic World. The future is bright for this kid.
Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel team up as Simon’s parents, and they are AMAZING together. I love Garner (I mean who doesn’t?!) and Duhamel has always been a favorite of mine, even though he is generally a supporting role type actor. I was first exposed to him in the T.V. series Las Vegas, which ran from 2003-2008, and he was great in that series. Talitha Eliana Bateman plays Simon’s younger sister and even though she has limited screen time she does a fantastic job. One of the most recognizable faces in the cast who should be fresh in viewers’ minds is the star of the hit Netflix drama series 13 Reasons Why, Katherine Langford. Langford doesn’t miss a beat as Simon’s longtime best friend and I really enjoyed her role and the chemistry she shared with Robinson. Veteran actor Tony Hale (Arrested Development, Veep) is absolutely hilarious as the vice principal, Mr. Worth. I really enjoyed his character, and he is credited with a large chunk of the laughs generated throughout the film. I could honestly go on and on talking about how much I enjoyed the cast because of the amazing chemistry, so kudos to them.
Love, Simon is a feel good movie the entire family will enjoy, and it also teaches a few valuable life lessons along the way. Oh, and don’t be surprised if the theater you are in claps at least 2 or 3 times during the movie because mine did, and I was fine with it. More than anything else this movie is a perfect example of what I would consider to be an effortlessly refreshing experience. As soon as I left the theater I wanted to see Love, Simon again, and that is a very good sign. This isn’t a tear jerker but for those of you with a soft spot for emotional moments, be sure to keep a tissue or two nearby just in case (my girlfriend definitely shed a few tears). Do yourself a favor and check this one out while it’s in theaters, you’ll be glad you did. I hope to see it again soon, and I will be adding Love, Simon to my Blu-ray collection of coming-of-age favorites. Highly recommended.