Fish and Cherries Productions

Creative content from a mad mind.


Reel Snippet – Love, Simon

Summary: Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) is an average high school student in a nuclear family with a jock dad (Josh Duhamel), a valedictorian mom (Jennifer Garner), and an aspiring chef of a little sister (Talitha Bateman), but he has one big secret: he’s gay. No one knows, not his family and not his best friends Leah (Katherine Langford), Nick (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.), and Abby (Alexandra Shipp). But then someone posts anonymously on the school blog about how it feels to be a closeted gay, leaving behind only an email address and the alias “Blue.” Emailing him under the pseudonym “Jacques,” the two strike up conversation and open up about being gay to each other, forging a deep yet anonymous connection. But things start to go off the rails when he forgets to close his emails on a school computer and an awkward student named Martin (Logan Miller) uses them to blackmail him into getting him together with Abby. From there, a comedy of errors unfolds as Scott does everything he can to keep those emails from seeing the light of day, all while trying to figure out which of his classmates is Blue and if their love is real.

Review: Love, Simon is the first mainstream movie produced by a major Hollywood studio about a gay romance, so thank the High Heavens that it was outstanding. Every complaint I had about Call Me By Your Name not giving me good insight into what it’s like to be gay is nowhere to be found here. This movie took me on a long walk in the shoes of a gay teen and the journey was beautiful, funny, heart wrenching, touching, and something that no one who experiences it is bound to forget. In short, everyone should see this movie.

The whole affair feels like a John Hughes movie, capturing the voice of a generation in all of its awkward, struggling glory. This high school, which certainly a lot more glamorous than ones most people went to, definitely has a lot of familiarity to it for everyone who’s been to high school. It’s filled with the latest gossip, school plays that mix the spectacle with the cringe (so much cringe), true friends, awkward boys trying to get with great girls, and that one faculty member that’s trying way too hard to connect with kids. On top of that, our high school main characters do very high school things, by which I mean stupid things. The lengths that Simon goes to keep his secret from his friends are both funny and painful because you know they’ll come back to bite him. Of course, when they do… you won’t exactly be laughing.

The family dynamic is also sublime, with the dorky parents that need their oldest to figure out technology for them and the younger sister who tries (and often fails) every recipe she finds on the Food Network. The parents aren’t your usual stereotypes, especially not in a movie about a closeted teen, but the sister deserves recognition for great characterization. I like that they didn’t just make her a brat and that there’s more to her than just being “the younger sister.” There’s an emotional scene where she’s so heartbroken over something that happens and not only does she nail the emotion, but it’s a situation that doesn’t come up in movies a lot and I can’t imagine anyone would know how to react. But again, no spoilers.

I should probably talk about the portrayal of gay teenagers. I’m not homosexual, so I can’t swear to the authenticity, but as an average cishet outsider, it felt very genuine and respectful. Evidently I’m not the only one who thinks so, as both GLAAD and the It Gets Better Project have given their full endorsement to this movie. You can argue that it’s too Hollywood and that Call Me By Your Name is more authentic, but I say that everyone deserves their gilded Hollywood fantasy, be they gay, asexual, poly, or mentally ill. That’s how we grow as a society, when groups start feeling like they weren’t born wrong.

If I had one gripe, it’s that there’s a character who does a Very Bad Thing who doesn’t get nearly the comeuppance they deserve. Even so, that’s not the focus of this well-acted, enjoyable, spectacular movie. The aspects involving sexuality, interpersonal dynamics, and that whole mystery thing are well thought out and superbly written. I don’t know what made me happier, this amazing movie or the fact that there were many audience members cheering at different parts. Thumbs way up on this one.

Fun Tidbit: This film was directed by Greg Berlanti, the mind behind the DC Comics shows on the CW, so it comes as no surprise that some of the “Arrowverse” actors show up here. Keiynan Lonsdale, who plays Wally West, plays one of the students, but a less visible involvement became clear when the credits gave special thanks to Colton Haynes. He not only plays Roy Harper in the DC shows, but is openly gay.

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