An immediate smell of way too buttery and salty popcorn hits my nose as I walk into Cinemark Tinseltown USA and IMAX. The movie theater is buzzing with families waiting in line to buy their tickets, purchasing the biggest tubs of popcorn, cups of soda, and of course, a box of candy to top it off.
“Love, Simon” the film recently released on March 16th of 2018, earned upwards of $11,000,000 during opening weekend. As an adaptation of Becky Albertalli’s novel, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, many readers of the novel were stoked when they heard it was being turned into a movie. A film adaptation of a novel can go two ways; either it can be way worse than the book, or it can live up to readers’ expectations. “Love, Simon” ended up being the ladder.
The film tells the story of a closeted teenage boy, Simon Spier, who struggles with his sexuality, identity, and coming out to his family and friends. When an anonymous account known as Blue posts on the school’s website saying they feel stuck, Simon creates an anonymous name to contact him; Jacques. Simon Spier is gay, but no one knows it except for him and Blue. Through emails back and forth and the trial and error of Simon attempting to put the pieces together to discover Blue, it’s an adventurous, yet anxious, film guaranteed to keep you on your toes.
This film was directed by Greg Berlanti, who is known for producing popular shows on The CW such as “Arrow,” “Riverdale,” and “The Flash.” While Berlanti typically directs supernatural films and TV shows, he tried something a little different with this combination of comedy, romance, and drama based film, and it was a success. This success shows Berlanti’s capability of diversity, which is great for a director to be able to exceed one genre.
The film also stars Nick Robinson, Jennifer Garner, and Josh Duhamel. Nick Robinson, who was cast as the lead role of Simon Spier, has previously been seen as a lead in “The Fifth Wave,” “Jurassic Park,” and “Everything, Everything.” Robinson is portrayed as the typical role he’s used to as a high school boy, but is brought in to a different world when he is cast as the role of a closeted teenage boy. His experience in previous roles shines through as he portrays the perfect, uncomfortable and awkward teenage boy struggling with his identity in high school.
Garner and Duhamel join together in this production to perfectly portray Simon’s parents. While both actors don’t usually play the role of a parental figure, the chemistry they share on screen and their personalities fit perfectly with the story being told.
This is a movie avid theater-goers won’t want to miss. At an hour and 50 minutes, it may seem long, but the time flies and it’s over before you know it. A film combining drama, romance, and comedy all in one made “Love, Simon” super refreshing due to the diversity and acknowledgment of the homosexual community.
Besides the suspense built through the movie as Simon attempts to think through the true identity of Blue, the music adds to the dramatic, yet exciting effect. Featuring party themed songs, such as Love Lies by Khalid and Normani, adds to the high school excitement kids feel when they go to parties and was strategically placed in the scene of a Halloween party. The music makes it relatable to teenagers, as many songs are upbeat and sung by popular artists, which draws in the young audience. The Bleachers are a group often heard in “Love, Simon,” as well. Many of their songs fit either the bubbly love story, such as “Alfie’s Song (Not So Typical Love Song),” or contribute to the suspense, which “Wild Heart” accomplishes. The soundtrack is full of a mix of sad and emotional combined with happy and exciting music, which works perfectly with the roller coaster you’re taken on when you buy a ticket to see this movie.
“Love, Simon” tells the story of not only self-discovery, but love and loss between friends and family and how one’s life, and the people in their lives, can change due to keeping a secret and finally revealing it. As a film addressing sexuality, it may inspire viewers to come out, and feel comfortable, about revealing their own. Between crying, laughing, and smiling through the movie, the end releases all of the tension. This is a movie to watch if you want to be on the edge of your seat, anxiously waiting to find out who Blue is and when, where, and how Simon will come out. I’ll leave it up to you to figure it out.