Love, Simon review - a truly heartwarming gay teen romance

'Everyone deserves a great love story'

Love, Simon - trailer

As movies like Moonlight, Call Me By Your Name and God’s Own Country become more widely accepted as ‘mainstream’, on the surface Love, Simon might not feel like it’s breaking down barriers or causing any ripples. But the simple fact that a gay teen love story is being released in cinemas, with a PG-13 rating (meaning any one can watch) is a very, very good thing.

The premise is the classic teen drama/romance set up, which is laboriously laid out in the opening narration. Simon has everything he could possibly wish for; a happy, stable family he likes and gets along with, a group of close-knit friends who look out for him, he’s conventionally attractive, not failing at school, and has enough disposable income to have The Kinks on vinyl and an insatiable iced coffee habit. Simon, as you have no doubt guessed, is also gay and is coming to terms with how his sexuality will affect him and those around him. Fortunately, for the plot, the school has a regularly updated Gossip Girl style secrets site where anonymous students can leave their confessions and air their dirty laundry. It is here that Simon makes contact with Blue, a young gay student who is also going through the exact same journey as him. The pair make contact and the movie turns into a quasi You’ve Got Mail adaptation as they fall in love and divulge secrets behind the comfort of anonymity.

Author Becky Albertalli, who wrote Simon vs The Homosapiens, the book the movie is based on, said in a recent interview that Perks of Being a Wallflower was one of her major influences to start writing and you can feel that same special spark in Simon’s story. We follow him through the highs and lows only a closeted teenager can experience as he faces pressures to both stay in and escape the closet, all while trying to track down the elusive Blue who he’s pinned his hopes for happiness on.

Jurassic World‘s Nick Robinson plays his role pretty much spot on as the troubled Simon; with director Greg Berlanti, of Dawson’s Creek and Supergirl fame, putting him through all the typical motions and tropes you’d expect from a teen drama movie. Wistful glances at happy couples, eating lunch alone after a falling out with his friends, powering through family engagements to avoid talking about the real issues and pining after Brendon Urie. Love, Simon isn’t here to reinvent the teen drama category, just open it up to an entire community that has been kept out for years.

While I don’t tend to pay attention to movie taglines this one certainly sticks with you ‘Everyone deserves a great love story’. The entire film feels like it’s been built around this core principle and the question; 'Why has it taken us until 2018 to get a high school love story for a gay teen?'

Is it perfect? Well, not entirely - many people will go in thinking it’s a little too white, a little too gay and a little too polished. But some might argue that this how we actually, finally got this movie - It needed to appeal to as many people as possible, and it needed to be appealing while doing it. I don’t know if I agree with that assessment, but if this is the start of mainstream studios putting money up for films featuring the entire spectrum of the LGBTQ+ community then let’s do it.

Love, Simon - I really did. As many people need to see it as soon as possible - hell, show it in schools on the last day of term. But let’s not rest on our laurels, it’s time for a few more of these excellent stories, there is no shortage of people who need them.

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