First, a follow-up to my previous two reviews, where I mentioned varying experiences at the Brenden Theatres inside the Palms hotel in Vegas...This time I went to the first showing on a Wednesday and the theatre was empty. There were two couples and me. All respectful.
The only minor issue happened midway through the previews: the film stopped, lights started flashing, and an alarm was sounding. A theater employee let us know that they were simply testing the alarm system and that the previews would resume shortly, which they did in ten minutes. I wondered why they would have scheduled the film at the same time as the alarm test? It wasn't a big deal, but was unfortunately in line with my general experience at this theater. I would not see a movie at this location, unless I'm staying at Palms and I would not likely stay at Palms, unless we were staying as part of a business trip with my husband's company. More on our stay at Palms in a future blog post.
PLOT- Seventeen year old Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) has a great life. He is close to his supportive parents, loves his little sister, and has a close-knit group of friends. The only problem is Simon has been holding on to the secret that he is gay. Although he knows that everyone will support him, he also knows that revealing the truth will change his life and he's not quite ready for things to change. When a school gossip blog mentions that another kid at their school is gay, Simon finds the kid through his social media pseudonym, Blue, and begins a correspondence. Simon writes under the pen-name, Jacques, and soon finds himself falling in love with Blue. As his online relationship with Blue grows, Simon begins to realize that he is ready to tell his family and friends that he is gay, however, a problem arises when he gets blackmailed by a fellow student.
LIKE- I don't often read YA Fiction and I did not have a chance to read Becky Albertalli's novel, Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, that Love, Simon is based on. I am a fan of the director, Greg Berlanti. I don't watch his super-hero shows, by I adored his family dramas: Everwood and Brothers and Sisters. Love, Simon reminded me a lot of Everwood. They both have a sweet tone and are filled with characters that you'd want to know in real life.
When I handed my ticket to the attendant, he said "I hope you love Simon." On the way out, he asked " Well, did you love Simon?" Yes, I did. Loved the movie, loved the characters. It's a film that made me smile and gave me the warm-fuzzies.
Yes, it's overly sentimental and in certain places, perhaps a bit unrealistic. However, this is a story with a lot of heart. I liked that Simon and his friends were normal kids. Sure, above average good-looking since these are all actors, but in the film, they behave and dress average. They reminded me very much of my group of high school friends.
The antagonist is Martin (Logan Miller) a kid who is in a production of Cabaret with Simon. Martin is awkward, unpopular, and has a huge crush on Simon's friend Abby (Alexandria Shipp). Abby is a recent transfer student, who is smart and beautiful. Martin finds correspondence between Simon and Blue on a library computer and seizes the opportunity to blackmail Simon. He will reveal Simon's secret, unless Simon helps him with Abby. Simon knows that his best friend, Nick (Jorge Lendeborg Jr) has a crush on Abby, but creates a lie to make him disinterested. Simon's fear of discovery creates a series of actions that hurt his closest friends.
Martin is a character that is difficult to like, but he does have one quality that I found admirable. In efforts to help Martin with Abby, Simon goes over to Martin's house with the intention of giving him tips on how to better fit in. Simon mocks Martin's wardrobe and pretty much tells him that he's weird and needs to change. Martin stops him and stands up to Simon. He tells Simon that he is interested in getting help with Abby, but that he doesn't want to change himself. Martin certainly acts in a vile manner when he blackmails Simon and his ensuing actions, but his self-confidence and self-esteem are qualities that are admirable. In high school where Simon (and most kids) just want to blend-in, Martin isn't afraid to stand-out.
She has a small part, but I loved every scene with Natasha Rothwell, who plays a drama teacher who has been forced to cast every kid, regardless of talent, in a production of Cabaret. It is a dreadful production. She's hilarious. Tony Hale was also funny as the vice-principal who tries hard to relate to the students. He's goofy, but a likable goof. The adults in Love, Simon, are all very much invested in the lives of the kids. It realistically portrays how kids still want and need the adults in their lives.
There is no such thing as too many sappy scenes on Ferris Wheels. I'm not sure if it's part of the novel, but Berlanti has certainly ended with a Ferris Wheel before, and the final scene in Love, Simon, was very similar to the last scene in the final episode of Everwood. Loved it!
DISLIKE- This is a minor dislike, but I thought they laid it on a little thick with Simon's father (Josh Duhamel), who in nearly every scene prior to Simon coming out to his parents, makes a comment about Simon's attraction towards girls. He mentions stuff like Simon must be in his room jerking-off to pictures of models, et... His father feels awkward, but the volume of comments took me out of the story. They could have used less to convey the same thing. This said, Simon and his dad have a very loving relationship.
RECOMMEND- Yes! Love, Simon is a sweet story filled with wonderful characters. It's sentimental and a bit predictable, but it's a movie that will just leave you feeling happy.