Love, Simon is a film directed by Greg Berlanti, based on a book by Becky Albertalli. It follows the story of Simon Spier (Nick Robinson), a closeted gay teen in his last year of high school, as he struggles to accept his sexuality.
Most of the plot revolves around his emails with an anonymous boy from his school going by the name Blue who he, as expected, ends up falling in love with. Soon after he begins these communications, when Simon carelessly leaves his email account open, another student named Martin discovers them and blackmails Simon with them, and forces him to help him get a date with Simon’s best friend. From this point on, Simon is forced to manipulate his closest friends in a desperate effort to keep his secret as the situation gradually spirals out of control.
The plot is well-constructed and creative; there were a lot of really boring, generic things they could have done for a drama/comedy about a gay boy. Going into the film I dreaded that the entire film would be about a gay character, and what I mean by this is that many films believe being gay is something you can build an entire character off of, and while being gay certainly changes the experience of a character and alters that character’s personality accordingly, being gay is not the single defining trait of person, and the film recognizes this.
Simon has more to him than just being gay; he’s a caring, considerate person. He cares deeply about his friends and his family, but he can also be careless and short-sighted. Being gay isn’t what defines the character, and that’s a major reason he chooses not to come out; he fears that people will define him based on his sexuality. This is one of my favorite aspects of the film.
Simon isn’t the only great character, of course. Just about every other character is well-developed throughout the film. Simon’s friends, Abby, Nick, and Leah are all well developed, each with their own character arcs and their own struggles. Even the sort of antagonist of the film, Martin, gets a chance to develop from awkward nerd to slightly less awkward nerd and even somewhat redeem himself.
The cinematography is surprisingly interesting, making creative use of colors and camera angles. Most of the scenes that best exemplify this are Simon’s daydreams, particularly when he tries to picture who Blue might be, and when he imagines his college life after coming out, which is a full-on musical number (and one of the best parts of the movie). The sets are also very well done; each set feels real and has its own unique personality. The two that come to mind immediately are the stage Simon and the rest of the theatre club practice on, and Simon’s room. Both look real, like they’re actually used and lived in, but also have their own different atmospheres; Simon’s room is cozy and quiet, while the theatre is more wide-open and lively. The aforementioned cinematography also plays into this, using camera angles to establish the mood of each set.
I do have a few minor gripes about the film, the worst one being one particular scene where Simon’s friends all act uncharacteristically cruel to him. I can’t get too in-depth because I would be spoiling far too much, but I found this particular scene rather annoying. There were also a few moments where major conflicts could have been resolved with basic communication, a flaw many films have. Lastly, I thought that a few character arcs were cut short. These minor issues, however, detracted little of my enjoyment of the film.
Love, Simon is, quite simply, a fantastic film. From its characters, to its plot, to the minor details like set design and cinematography, the whole thing is fantastic, and the flaws that do exist don’t distract from the experience in any major way, as they are few and far between. I recommend Love, Simon highly. I think that there’s something for everyone to enjoy, especially for fans of romances, dramas, and comedies.