Jacob VanHoutan, Staff Writer
The movie “Love, Simon” is like every other coming-of-age film that has come before. Its roots are from classics film from John Hughes like “Pretty in Pink,” “Breakfast Club,” and “Sixteen Candles.” It has the same themes about growing up and finding yourself as all of those movies. It has the same high school stereotypes that those films have. But its key difference lies in its focus on a gay main character. It’s the same story that has been told so many times, but puts a new spin on it.
What makes this film special is that twist on a genre that has been very played out over the years. It updates the experiences that most young people face growing up, but show it through the lens of someone who isn’t straight. Simon, played by Nick Robinson, is such a fully formed character who has regular problems from growing up, but has so much more to deal with, too. Robinson gives a really good performance and shows all of the emotions you need in a film like this.
Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp and Jorge Lendeborg Jr. play Robinson’s three best friends and they play their roles really well. They aren’t your average stereotypes of typical best friends either. They are really great friends and they each have a different relationship with Simon that is developed in the film. They do have some times where it isn’t the best and the film does a great job of portraying them throughout the whole film through Simon’s best and worst moments.
Simon’s parents are so great, too. Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel play his mom and dad respectively. They each have a positive relationship with Simon even when they don’t know his secret. The film does have its moments where it brings out the familial tension that is under the surface, but it is never to its detriment. And the scene where they find out about Simon’s secret is so well played and they each have a very believable reaction.
What I want to highlight most with this film is that it really does have a new experience to represent. It represents gay people in a light that treats them as if they were just people, which is sadly refreshing in films like this. Simon is not relegated to being the gay best friend, but gets his own story. We learn about his insecurities about life and they just happen to be told through the lens of someone who isn’t entirely comfortable with coming out.
“Love, Simon” is an important film that comes across as a really smart retelling of coming of age stories that rarely focus on an sort of minority group. It’s a story that represents this gay person as just any other teenager and never feels like it is looking down or playing up. Everyone can connect to Simon because being gay is just one thing about him. I highly recommend that everyone go see this film.
This article first appeared in the Friday, April 20 edition of The Echo.