American films

Love, Simon film review: homosexuality normalised in smart, sympathetic high-school romance

In this charming and witty take on adolescent sexuality, a closeted schoolboy starts an anonymous online relationship with a boy called Blue. The film wins by treating the well-written plot like any other teen romance

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 02 May, 2018, 7:02am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 02 May, 2018, 7:02am

3/5 stars

Arriving in the wake of Oscar-winning gay romance Call Me by Your Name , Love, Simon presents an even more mainstream take on adolescent homosexuality. A charming, witty and wholly generic high school romcom, the film succeeds thanks to its smart script and sympathetic performances.

Simon (Nick Robinson) is an Atlanta teenager with a big secret. He’s gay, and despite a supportive family and close friends, lacks the courage to come out. That is until a blog post on the school community website sparks an anonymous online relationship with a boy he knows only as “Blue”.

While Simon attempts to unmask his new-found soul mate, his obnoxious classmate Martin (Logan Miller) learns the truth and threatens to out him, if Simon doesn’t set him up with the beautiful Abby (Alexandra Shipp). Conflicted and confused, Simon bends to blackmail, which in turn upends his entire social circle.

Film review: The 5th Wave – Chloë Grace Moretz braves apocalypse in young-adult adaptation

Love, Simon’s strength lies in its determination to normalise Simon’s predicament. His burgeoning sexuality is treated with just as much anxiety, heartache and humour as other teen crises in any other teen movie.

If anything, Simon’s environment is a little too safe – as the character Elio’s was in Call Me By Your Name – with a notable lack of bullies or homophobes at school, or anywhere else.

Director Greg Berlanti takes Becky Albertalli’s novel Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda and spins it into a teen comedy that speaks to a generation unfazed by sexual orientation. His film shrugs off its supposed hot button issues to focus on the everyday struggles of adolescents, breaking new ground by adhering firmly to formula.

Love, Simon opens on May 3

Want more articles like this? Follow SCMP Film on Facebook