Love, Simon (2018)

<strong class="MovieTitle">Love, Simon</strong> (2018)

(On Cable TV, December 2018) As much as I hate to admit it, I live in a comfortable bubble and movies are one of the ways in which I can understand that. A teenage romantic comedy whose Big Idea was to feature a gay protagonist coming out at first struck me as, well, unnecessary — but given that I live in Canada (and the progressive, French-speaking part of Canada at that), work in an environment that embraces diversity and carry my cis straight white male privilege around, I clearly didn’t fully appreciate what it meant to others. On its own, I quite liked Love, Simon: despite an annoying tendency to portray its characters at the edge of hipness with the perfect musical choices and coolest pop-culture references, it’s a warm, engaging, funny and dynamic teenage romantic comedy. It’s also inclusive in the sense that by the big triumphant romantic finish, I was aaaw-ing for the protagonist just as I would have for a straight protagonist (in fact, perhaps more so, because Love, Simon is a superior example of the form that leaves many blander hetero rom-coms behind). The dialogue is filled with good moments, the cast is performing up to the demands of the script and the atmosphere created by director Greg Berlanti approaches some of the earlier teenage movie classics. Comparisons with John Hughes films may have to sit a while, but don’t seem unwarranted at a first glance: I’m seriously considering it for my own year-end Top-10. Nick Robinson is quite good in the lead role, but the entire cast is fantastic — I particularly liked Alexandra Shipp, Natasha Rothwell and Clark Moore even in short supporting roles. Small funny script details about — I was particularly amused by the notion of a high-school performance of Cabaret, but sobered up when I realized that this was actually A Thing. And it’s in that vein that I’m willing to cut a lot of slack to Love, Simon — It’s a great movie, and it’s a great movie not necessarily designed for someone like me. There’s a wide difference of experience between this middle-aged movie reviewer and its target audience, and the notion of a gay teenage romantic comedy is important to its target audience — it’s not overdone, not obvious, not unnecessary. We all need to tell our own stories, and we will find unity in what they have in common.

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