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MOVIE REVIEW: Love, Simon a sweet romantic comedy for a new generation

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Vicky Sparks

Part romantic comedy, part coming-of-age story, with a little mystery thrown in, Love, Simon is a John Hughes classic for a new generation.

Based on the best-selling book Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, it tells the story of our protagonist Simon who appears at first glance to be an average movie teenager – handsome, with good friends, and a very good looking, loving family.

Of course, things are not what they appear because Simon (played by Nick Robinson) has a secret – he’s gay. Not ready to tell friends or family, he reaches out to a fellow classmate (going by the moniker Blue) who has anonymously revealed he’s gay through a school gossip website (one of the many perils of being a teenager in the age of social media).

He strikes up an online friendship with Blue and they’re able to reveal things to one another they hadn’t been able to say out loud before.

Much of the film focuses on Simon trying to identify Blue, trying out different classmates in fantasy sequences.  When an obnoxious classmate named Martin discovers the emails, he blackmails Simon.

Martin trades his silence for Simon’s help in getting his friend Abby to like him. Of course the blackmail plan eventually implodes and Simon is very publicly outed.

Love, Simon is groundbreaking in only one way – it is the first major studio, commercial release of a film with a gay lead. In every other way it’s a standard, albeit very well done, young adult, high school movie.

It’s sweet, heartwarming and hilarious – my theatre burst into applause mid-movie no fewer than three times. It’s refreshing to see a movie about a gay character with a happy ending – most well known movies telling LGBTQ love stories (Moonlight and Call Me By Your Name) are incredible stories but also heart-wrenching tales filled with anguish and sadness. Love, Simon is a candy-coated romantic comedy.

While uplifting and full of hope, the film doesn’t shy from the challenges of coming out – even to a liberal school and family.

There are horrid bullies intent on making Simon’s life hell but also allies who have his back.  Simon’s mom, played beautifully by Jennifer Garner, is a very educated liberal psychologist who couldn’t be more gay-friendly, but former jock dad, played by Josh Duhamel, is cut from a different cloth.

Dad still calls men fruity and tries to connect with his teen son by making jokes about porn and chicks. While you never believe he’s truly homophobic at core (Jennifer Garner wouldn’t stand for that!) his outdated definition of masculinity makes Simon and the audience cringe more than once.

Love, Simon is a modern, romantic fairy tale for aware audiences. It’s a story anyone can relate to because at core it’s a story about a boy who wants to be loved for who he is, and that makes it a story about all of us.

The movie is delightful and Simon is a hero for a new generation.

Vicky Sparks is a Bright’s Grove native and movie critic for Global TV’s The Morning Show, which airs nationally on Fridays. Her Journal Reviews cover movies playing at Galaxy Cinemas Sarnia




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