- Colin Fraser
TWO AND A HALF STARS Simon has a secret, online friend. Is he ready to share the secret with everyone else?
Nick Robinson, Jennifer Gardner
ROMANTIC COMEDY #LOVESIMON
If LOVE, SIMON was a hetero tale of teenage romance, it would certainly qualify as the least interesting film of the year. But it’s not, for Simon is gay, closeted and therein LOVE SIMON’s raison d’être - gay romance jumps from arthouse to multiplex. But in all other respects this is a Disney teenage film where everyone is nice, no one drives drunk and no one swears (much). The dramatic struggle is Simon’s attempt to learn the identity of Blu, a friend he’s made on the internet and is falling in love with. The difference here is that Blu is a bloke.
On one hand this is crushingly formula - a John Hughe’s film for a new generation in which lovers (eventually) meet and kiss. And like most such stories, we’re stuck in an aspirational world where nothing rings true; not the teen’s home lives (seriously, who lives in mansions like these?) nor the PC-cool high-school populated with sassy teachers and only two notionally ‘bad’ kids. For a start, where are the x-ray machines run by gun-toting security guards?
On the other hand, this is ground-breaking stuff. Name another mainstream teenage rom-com in which the lead is gay in a non-quirky, non-bitchy, non-combative and above all, self-liking way? Finally gay kids get to watch a film about another gay kid wrestling with the normal growing-up stuff, the kind of film that their peers have readily watched for decades. For that, LOVE, SIMON is to be showered in rainbow unicorns.
In all other regards, it’s to be lambasted for being such a crushingly routine entry unto the distressingly over-populated canon of teenage high-school rom-coms. LOVE, SIMON may be a touching gesture but in a mildly amusing, mildly heartwarming and mildly entertaining way. “Could try harder, C-”