Greg Berlanti may not have an extensive resume as a filmmaker, but he has produced a slew of highly popular television series like “Supergirl”, “Arrow”, “The Flash”, “Riverdale”, and many more. Admittedly, I watch all-of those shows. Last weeks episode of “Riverdale” was basically a huge promo for Berlanti’s new film, “Love, Simon”. I am a sucker for a good high-school set, John Hughes inspired romantic-comedy and “Love, Simon” is just that.
“Love, Simon” is based on Becky Albertalli’s novel “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda”. The story centers on Simon Spier (Nick Robinson), a closeted gay teenager who falls in love with an anonymous gay classmate that he met online. Simon, (who goes by the name Jacques via email) writes back-and-forth with the teen (who calls himself Blue) and the more they talk, the closer they become.
Neither Simon or Blue are ready to come out of the closet, but Simon is put in a tricky situation when a fellow student named Martin (Logan Miller) sees the personal emails and blackmails him. If Simon doesn’t help get Martin a date with Abby (Alexandrea Shipp), he will release the emails online. Simon is of course terrified of not only coming out, but also of losing Blue. Because of this, he goes along with Martin’s demands which puts a strain on his friendships. This includes his best friends Leah (Katherine Langford) and Nick (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.)
“Love, Simon” is most fun when we are trying to figure out, along with Simon, who the mysterious “Blue” really is? We are introduced to a handful of potentials and each one of them feel like someone we could see Simon end up with. The humor is low-key and that’s a good thing, as these characters do not need to be saddled with stupid humor.
“Love, Simon” isn’t a great movie and often feels like things are played way too safe. However, Berlanti knows his audience very well and has crafted a high school flim that is very difficult not to like. The young cast is enjoyable to watch, most notably Shipp and Lendeborg who are great. Not every character works. Tony Hale as the vice principle Mr. Worth was way too cartoonish and never felt real. Although I did like Josh Duhamel as Simon’s emotional father, I found Jennifer Garner wasn’t given much to do. Natasha Rothwell delivers a few good laughs as the high school drama teacher.
Some of the credit of what makes “Love, Simon” enjoyable should go to screenwriter Isaac Aptaker who has given us some solid episodes of “This is Us”. The target demographic for this film I would say are teenagers-early twenties, but much like Berlanti’s string of CW shows, it can even be enjoyed by people of almost any age.
By: Marc Ferman