I’ve seen this film heavily marketed across the internet, so I should have guessed this would be shown at the mystery screening I attended. During my adolescence stage, coming of age films helped me understand about growing up more than any other PSD (Personal Social Development) lesson from school. With a coming of age film, not only do you understand the changes happening to the characters, you also get to deal with their emotional reaction to those changes. It is one of the easiest relatable sub genre’s. Love, Simon not only continues this relatability factor but also introduces something that I haven’t seen from a coming of age film in recent memory, bravery.
Love, Simon is a film that understands the bravery needed to announce big changes in your life like coming out gay and it highlights this by the emotionally effective, but entertaining writing. There’s nothing as irritating as writers over-complicating a story that is simple to begin with. Love, Simon doesn’t do this, it has a dilemma and presents it in a way that is relatable and garners the support of its audience, this is a film where you can easily find yourself rooting for the characters.
Speaking of which, the man himself Simon (Nick Robinson) is a fantastic, lovable lead character. We feel so much relatability to him because we all have the experience of bottling up a secret and not knowing what to do about it because it might drastically change how people see you. It’ s very difficult to say that this is the kind of person you want to be, or this is the stuff I like now. In a way I can see Love, Simon becoming quite a cathartic film not only because of the character of Simon but how the actor Nick Robinson perfects the emotional train ride of keeping this secret.
It surprised me when I saw just how well the film was made from a filmmaker’s standpoint. In the film, Simon talks with this anonymous person online who goes by the name of Blue, so as well as Simon coming out, there is also a mystery to find out who Blue is. A way this film keeps this mystery alive is using the colour blue in it’s scenes, from colour correction to blue lighting. Both methods are used differently, the colour corrected blue is used to show us what is happening in Simon’s head when he thinks a certain character is his online soulmate, the blue lighting is to tell its audience that Blue is somewhere in the scene. This is subtle but masterful filmmaking that must be applauded.
It’s very easy to get caught up in the pleasantness of this film but that perfectly fine for the story that it is, but the pleasantness can be disrupted by the odd few moments in the film. I can’t stop myself from saying the film is entertaining because of the writing, but just because it’s entertaining doesn’t mean that the quality of the writing is impeccable, there are moments where a lot more work needed to be done. For instance, there was a story line that involves manipulation (which is all the detail I will go into) that feels like the writers were going with instinct and clichés to make it as engaging as possible. Also, the reveal of who Blue is could have been done a lot better, the film addresses the questions that need to be answered to justify this reveal, but the options they go for are incredibly weak and the believability of what is being told to the audience is idle.
There is without a shadow of a doubt that Love, Simon is most certainly full of clichés that have been used in coming of age film for decades. You have a high school setting, you can stereotype the additional characters easily, a loving American suburban family, the list goes on and on. Here’s the bizarre bit though, I didn’t mind it. Sure, I would have liked the filmmakers to have done something fresh and I have always been in favour of exploring new ways to look at stories, but it’s the charm of Love, Simon where I gave way to the clichés and enjoyed it for what it is. With all being said, if you have a very strong opinion on clichés then this may differ your viewing experience.
The tone does tend to shift from time to time with some scenes abruptly taking place inside the mind of the characters rather than the film world, (where the film’s scenes tend to exist) but one could argue that it makes the whole film feel more up-beat.
At the end of the day, this film is a feel-good story with a mystery that is well executed and keeps you intrigued, despite a weak reveal. Sure, you can be critical about the film’s clichés and the improvement needed in the writing of the story, but sometimes a film can be measured by the effect it has on people and Love, Simon is able to make people comfortable about who they are. Who knows, people who are closet gays could watch this film and be inspired to be open about who they are, this is what I meant when I said this film introduces bravery to coming of age films. In the future Love, Simon could be an attributing reason for the courage required for coming out, we’ll have to see.
Final Result: 7/10 – Good
Have you seen Love, Simon? What did you think? Please let me know your thoughts and opinions in the comments below.
Next Time: Pacific Rim Uprising