Bringing you honest reviews of recent releases
Nick Robinson – Simon Spier
Jennifer Garner – Emily
Josh Duhamel – Jack
Talitha Bateman – Nora
Jorge Lendeborg – Nick
Katherine Langford – Leah
Joey Pollari – Lyle
Alexandra Shipp – Abby
I liked Love, Simon. But I emphasize the word like – because that’s all this was. It wasn’t a groundbreaking piece of film or overly inspiring, but it made a sweet little story of a young man beginning to realise he likes guys. And I think it is this exact story which doesn’t make Love, Simon the most original story. Let’s face it, we’ve seen it all before in various films with male and female characters of different ages and backgrounds. Coming out as gay – or even bisexual – really isn’t a controversial topic to present the public with these days. I mean god, some straight (or straight-curious) guys are frowned upon by particular homosexuals if they haven’t tried cock at some stage. So the theme of this film isn’t as boundary-breaking as it may have been if say, released back in the early 90’s. In this day and age a film like this with its high school setting and cute protagonist is so savoury it could be commissioned by bloody Disney.
Robinson leads the way as the titular character, giving such a wholesome performance that it is near impossible to dislike him in any way. As well as being quite cute (deep brown eyes and quiffy hair), the actor seems to coast through the movie with a completely faultless performance. He’s cool as a cucumber as he carries each scene with unbreakable entertainment value, even in more subtle shorter scenes (I.E. trying to chat up his hunky new neighbour). Robinson’s character is a gay guy I warmed to instantly due to being vastly different to many others I have endured in other films. Homosexual men are generally portrayed to stereotypical perfection in most movies; boxed in their own spotlight with cliché personalities to ensure they live up to society’s image of a ‘woofter’. You see a fair few classic ones:
Tuc Watkins as Bob Hunter; Desperate Housewives:
The epitome of a smart and successful everyday American man. Suited up, his knack for not playing on his sexuality as much as other guys means he could pass instantly for straight – until his camp other half pops into the picture and he mumbles, “bitch” or something similar which gives it away.
Meshach Taylor as Hollywood Montrose, Mannequin:
So gay it’s hilarious.
Mark Indelicato as Justin, Ugly Betty:
So gay it’s irritating because it’s plain for all to see – but he just won’t come out.
Antony Cotton as Alexander, Queer as Folk:
OTT camp. Practically a woman in a man’s body, displaying all the cliché signs of a homosexual to perfection. Lispy voice, immaculate hair coiffure, tight t-shirts and body language that would make Paris Hilton seem macho.
Josh O’Connor as Johnny, God’s Own Country:
You’d never know he was gay unless told. Laddish and miserable, he hides it very well and comes across practically straight.
Danny Miller as Aaron Dingle, Emmerdale:
The actor portrays the gay character as a rough ‘n’ ready bad boy. The complete opposite of any of the above, but similar to God’s Own Country’s Johnny. Swaggers around the set in a hooded top most of the time, sometimes with cuts to the face. Troublesome. Possibly hesitant and regretful when going in for a kiss with another guy – but enjoys it.
Simon is very different to the above, and any other homosexual men I have seen in film / TV. He’s just your average guy making his way through life, and this is the character’s most striking appeal. He’s just an ordinary guy.
The main plot of the movie is Simon trying to figure out who “Blue” is. The pair are in contact through email, both experiencing the same issue – deciding whether or not to come out. So the entire movie focuses on Simon’s suspicions of his peers, wondering who exactly this mystery secondary gay person is. Not the most intriguing quest but it is incredibly innocent. This story bleeds a virtuous undertone, a cute young man developing feelings for other guys and wondering who he can confide in about it. This movie has a sense of freedom to it too; a young guy living at home with his parents. No responsibilities. Surrounded by friends. And the biggest obstacle in life is his 15-minute Maths homework. It’s a breath of fresh air to watch – and reminisce in – that feeling of total security and carefree attitude. Another good aspect of the movie.
The most precious theme in this movie is acceptance, and this is explored wonderfully when Simon’s parents discover he is gay. Garner and Robinson play a tender moment with such emotion that the scene becomes almost sad as the young man’s mother embraces his decision with all the love a mother can give, and delivers an incredibly poignant line concerning his wellbeing. It’s very touching. And a moment between Simon and his father is more funny when the older man recommends his son use something called Grindr to help kick-start his dating prospects. Love, Simon mixes relief, humour and sadness and cooks up something special. Top marks.
Love, Simon may focus on a young man’s turmoil with coming out and trying to keep his secret under wraps, but to be honest it really is nothing new. Realising you like guys isn’t exactly a monumental occasion to take place or warrant a movie being made of. Some guys like guys – end of. I personally had the “so what?” attitude as I sat there in the cinema watching this. And when you think about it,
Eastenders did it.
Coronation Street did it.
Shameless has done it.
Brothers and Sisters did it.
Glee did it.
General Hospital did it.
Hollyoaks did it.
G.B.F. did it.
Blue Is the Warmest Colour did it.
Carol, Brokeback Mountain, Beautiful Thing, Pride and Moonlight did it. God’s Own Country did it. Shank did it.
Do you see where I’m going with this?..
The concept really is nothing new.
Love, Simon is a hangover cure. One of those movies that is laced with such purity and fresh-faced characters that it would make an ideal film to stick on as you lay on the sofa, feeling the alcohol from last night steam from your pores. Most of us have curled up on the sofa, mellowing in the charm of a certain film when hungover – and this one contains the same ingredients. Let it wash over you pleasantly and let Robinson be your eye candy (he’s 23 by the way – not as young as his on-screen character!).
Its ending – set in a fairground – has to be one of the cheesiest, most cringeworthy moments I’ve witnessed in cinema but I wavered this due to the overall feel of the film.
So this type of scenario has been explored many times before but fortunately the recurrence is saved by how the protagonist differs from those who have come, cum and come out before him. Add a simplistic story and light humour and hey presto – you have a gay film so wholesome they could air it on Disney Channel’s late-night schedule.
Not bad at all.