I was so happy to see Love, Simon be a part of the BFI Flare Festival programming this year in London. For months, I’ve been seeing the trailers on YouTube and I immediately knew this would be a movie that I would gravitate towards.
Love, Simon stars Nick Robinson, a young new actor that I’ve come to respect from his goofy role in Melissa and Joey who later ended up in this small, little indie film called Jurassic World – which somehow went on to be a massive worldwide hit. Go figure. I jest.
But really, the true reason Nick Robinson has my attention as an actor was because of his indie breakout role in The Kings Of Summer – a movie that I adore. It’s not that Nick is the next big thing or tomorrow’s new “it boy”, it’s more to do with him being your every day sort of boy-next-door that is super appealing. Too see him get a lead role in Love, Simon – playing that same sort of character that he emulates so effortlessly, really just makes a lot of sense.
Love, Simon is directed by openly gay writer/executive producer Greg Berlanti – the genius behind some of my favourite DC Comics TV shows including Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, Black Lighting and DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow. Greg knows how to tell stories for the modern day young adult and it’s nice to know that he’s taking some of his heroic tv storytelling and bringing it back onto the silver screen about a topic that close to his heart – coming out. Greg previously brought us The Broken Hearts Club in 2000 and once again offers a fresh new story using “universal themes of romance, acceptance and family” via Love, Simon.
I’ve seen a lot of chatter on Facebook about Love, Simon being too frivolous of a film for those in my gay circles. Well, let’s get one thing straight here. Love, Simon is a rom-com coming out story for millennials. It’s certainly no Brokeback Mountain, Call Me By Your Name or Moonlight by any stretch of the imagination – but nevertheless, I think it’s an important film.
Why is it important you ask?
Well the message Love, Simon is sending a positive one inciting that everyone deserves a great love story. There isn’t an epic trial or tribulation that Simon must go through and overcome in this movie, however it’s really about bravery, taking pride in yourself and looking at the world through your own lens. That’s what I really liked about this film. Yes, it’s a bit campy in places. For instance the Whitney Houston “I Wanna Dance Somebody” dream sequence is so super-gay that even the film acknowledges it’s own ability to go OTT. And yes, perhaps the story is a bit too perfect to be realistic, but Love, Simon does make you feel-good and it will put a smile on your face with it’s witty writing and constant “who is it?” guessing game as you journey with Simon trying to find out who his secret gay pen pal really is. The point is this though. Love, Simon is important because it’s a gay film that is speaking to the masses, via mainstream distribution, telling a coming out story that resonates to us all, young and old and for those of us in-between. For me, it’s no different than some of my favorite “lighter” gay-themed movies I adored whilst growing up like Broadway Damage, Trick and Billy’s Hollywood Screen Kiss.
Why Go See It?
Love, Simon is a new Sixteen Candles for this generation. The acting is wonderful, the story is heartwarming and the diverse cast has great on-screen chemistry, bringing together some of the hottest new talent from the 13 Reasons Why phenomenon and highlighting one of the true breakout stars of today in way of Keiynan Lonsdale from The Flash – an out queer Australian actor/musician of color who is making waves right now in TV and music. Overall, Love, Simon will make you laugh, cry and maybe even wish you were a young adult in love again, minus all the societal baggage a lot of us had to grow up with.
Love, Simon is out now in theatres. Should you need another reason to see Love, Simon well here’s a beautiful song from the movie called “Strawberries & Cigarettes” by none other than Troye Sivan.