Love, Simon is a charming, contemporary coming-out story

2018-06-24 00:00

Love, Simon
Director: Greg Berlanti
Starring: Nick Robinson, Katherine Langford
4 stars

“Why do straight people never have to ‘come out’?”

So wonders Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) as he wrestles with the idea of coming out as gay during his last year of high school.

Simon has amazing, open-minded and supportive parents and equally amazing friends, but he knows that telling the world he’s gay will inevitably bring about change, and he’s just not ready for it.

Love, Simon is a contemporary coming-of-age story that’s remarkable in how normal it paints its gay lead character.

Many queer films are relegated to the “art house” category, and while films like Carol, Moonlight and Blue Is The Warmest Colour are brilliant, it means the experiences of gay and lesbian people, and thus these people themselves, are also often labelled as “fringe theatre”.

Love, Simon places the story of a gay teenager firmly in mainstream territory. And maybe that’s because Simon is white, but it’s a start, right?

With plenty of current cultural references and talking points – from the vice-principal plucking students’ cellphones from their hands in the corridors (“Less screen time!”) to a Halloween party with awesome costumes (John Lennon and Yoko, a retired Barack Obama in Hawaii) – it’s a new teen drama for this generation.

Simon’s story, which sees him coming out in a fairly tolerant community, might not ring true for many young South Africans, so the film might fail to reach a wide audience here. But it can still be watched as a charming teen drama with a very cute love story. Think along the lines of romcoms like 10 Things I Hate About You and She’s All That.

Robinson is a consummate lead and his supporting cast – up-and-comers Alexandra Shipp, Keiynan Lonsdale and Katherine Langford from 13 Reason Why – are brilliant young stars.

Josh Duhamel stars as Simon’s father and Jennifer Garner as his mother

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