Author Topic: Love, Simon: easy, wholesome cliche or stealthy, groundbreaking bliss-out? Yes.  (Read 7064 times)

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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Coming out to Simon's parents — and then to the world — proves more fraught. His liberal family is thrown by the news, and they pass several days in strained silence. But eventually both parents get their scene of proud acceptance. They’re big Hollywood scenes, of course, with speeches and tears. Love, Simon  isn’t frank or revelatory in the vein of the best queer cinema. It avoids much talk of arousal, and it delays and delays its first same-sex kiss and then scores it to onlookers’ applause just in case audiences aren’t sure how to feel about it. This is mainstream crowd-pleasing studio filmmaking, so, of course, it’s in some ways behind the times. It’s also, like most studio filmmaking, an example: Here is a way you can be, it says to kids and to parents, to everyone who still believes there’s a median American normal.




https://www.villagevoice.com/2018/03/13/charming-love-simon-expands-hollywoods-vision-of-what-america-is/


FILM
Charming Love, Simon  expands
Hollywood’s vision of what America is

By ALAN SCHERSTUHL  
March 13, 2018



The cast of  Love, Simon, a fleet and sweet comedy/romance/mystery, includes Jorge Lendeborg Jr. (Nick), Katherine Langford (Leah),
Alexandra Shipp (Abby), and Nick Robinson (Simon).

Photograph by Ben Rothstein / Twentieth Century Fox / Everett



“I’m just like you,” the hunky Simon of Love, Simon  insists in this likable film’s first moments. He declares this over cheery footage, bright as commercials for laundry detergent, of the putative everyteen beaming with his family in a large but unfussy suburban home or cruising with his high school crew to the coffee shop.

Just like you.

You might balk and note that you don’t drive a nice used Subaru, that your little sister doesn’t whip up elaborate breakfasts with blueberry confits, that your mother, bless her, simply does not look like Jennifer Garner. You might point out that Hollywood’s idea of what America looks like has always left too many Americans out. The good news about Love, Simon  is that there’s a savvy sneakiness to the filmmakers’ vision of our national ordinariness. For decades, Hollywood and politicians have promised that the country’s heart and backbone and moral center is a robust suburban middle class. This vital and funny teen coming-out comedy from 20th Century Fox never undercuts that promise. Instead, it adds to it. Here is a movie made for and about the people who believe they are the essence of American normalcy, a movie that dutifully flatters and celebrates them even as it works to expand who that normalcy actually includes.

It seems to be saying, ever so gently, “You want to believe that America looks like the John Hughes movies of the ’80s, or the Father of the Bride  movies of the ’90s? Great, go for it — but, oh, by the way, the hero now can be a gay dude, with best friends of all races, and not one is a Long Duk Dong–like joke.”

Even the villain of the piece, a film-geek white boy who abuses the closeted hero online, is accorded humanity. Love, Simon is an empathetic bliss-out, a fleet and sweet comedy/romance/mystery where the stakes couldn’t be higher — it deals with the public exposure of teenagers’ secrets! — but also where every high school crisis or embarrassment passes with time because people, it turns out, are fundamentally decent. That makes it a welcome rebuke to the tribal assumptions of the previous generation’s teen comedies, where the jocks hated the geeks who hated the theater people, and the lines between factions couldn’t be blurred. Outside of a pair of bullies who get soundly dressed down, everyone in Love, Simon  is happily into their own thing and open to everyone else’s. If what teens watch on their screens shapes future teen behavior, Love, Simon’s utopian society is a gift to the teens of the future who may grow up on it — and to anyone who has to deal with teens.

The leads, a squad of young actors sharing too much gorgeousness to come from the same high school, are dressed slightly down to suggest some socioeconomic reality. What matters, though, is how they click and laugh together; how they rattle through Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger’s dialogue as if the words are just coming to them; how when Simon picks up his pals for school in the morning they each bound into the car already chattering, as if yesterday’s conversation has never let up. It hasn’t, of course: They’re all connected via their phones and laptops, so everyone finds out every key plot point at the same time no matter where they are. But even if they don’t have news to share when together, they bubble over with excitable fellowship. This is the most irresistible portrait of teen friendship this side of Lady Bird.

Those bonds get tested, of course, once the plot kicks in. Simon (stolid, ruminative Nick Robinson) trusts his crew with everything but his big secret: that he’s gay. He’s not known this for too long himself, and he’s uncertain how to talk about it, especially with Leah (Katherine Langford), his closest and oldest friend, a young woman whose romantic yearning for him he convinces himself not to notice. (Director Greg Berlanti and the screenwriters ace the aching pain of those go-nowhere crushes that teens just soak in.)

A student calling himself Blue writes a post about being closeted and lonely on a gossip site dedicated to their school. Simon, thunderstruck, begins a correspondence with Blue. In brisk, gripping scenes, they reveal everything to each other — except their names. We watch Simon agonize waiting for an email back; we see Simon and Blue encourage each other to open up, to consider revealing themselves to each other and the world — maybe at this upcoming Halloween costume party?

Based on a novel by Becky Albertalli, Love, Simon  introduces some enduring elements of Shakespearean comedy. At the party, Simon is curious about every dude in a costume, wondering if he might be Blue — if masks can slip and identities can get revealed. Meanwhile, weaselly thespian Martin (Logan Miller) has discovered Simon’s secrets and has threatened to reveal Simon and Blue’s emails to the school unless Simon helps the weasel win the heart of Abby (Alexandra Shipp), a dear friend of Simon’s.

The cast and filmmakers stir these elements of secrets, lies, masks, and matchmaking for all they’re worth, prizing telling details and piercing observation over broad comedy. Relationships that in the film’s first moments seemed simple, copy-pasted from other movies, prove prickly and complex. Witness Leah tending to a drunk Simon after a party, coming as close as she can to revealing her love to him without actually saying the words. Watch Simon’s parents (Garner and Josh Duhamel) take great pride in not being upset the first time their boy comes home shit-faced. And when Simon finally reveals his sexuality to one of his friends, the scene plays as tender and welcoming, a warm moment of closeness.

Coming out to his parents — and then to the world — proves more fraught. His liberal family is thrown by the news, and they pass several days in strained silence. But eventually both parents get their scene of proud acceptance. They’re big Hollywood scenes, of course, with speeches and tears. Love, Simon  isn’t frank or revelatory in the vein of the best queer cinema. It avoids much talk of arousal, and it delays and delays its first same-sex kiss and then scores it to onlookers’ applause just in case audiences aren’t sure how to feel about it. This is mainstream crowd-pleasing studio filmmaking, so, of course, it’s in some ways behind the times. It’s also, like most studio filmmaking, an example: Here is a way you can be, it says to kids and to parents, to everyone who still believes there’s a median American normal.


"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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Yes, the plot mechanics tend to lean toward the disappointingly slick and sitcom-ish. But what redeems the film and makes it such an exuberant gift is the sincere joy director Greg Berlanti and the actors take in celebrating its protagonist's growing self awareness. Love, Simon  is a John Hughes movie for audiences who just got woke. And for all its attempts not to offend, it's a genuine groundbreaker.




https://www.rollingstone.com/movies/reviews/peter-travers-love-simon-movie-review-w517823#


Gay Teen Romance
Love, Simon
Is 'John Hughes for Woke Audiences'
Touching love story from TV's Greg Berlanti is moving, sensitive and a complete winner
★★★½
By Peter Travers  
March 13, 2018



Nick Robinson as Simon in Love, Simon.
Photograph by Ben Rothstein


A seemingly ordinary coming-of-age tale that looms large because of its inclusive romantic embrace, Love, Simon wins you over by capturing your heart without pushing too hard for the prize. Given the recent high points of gay cinema on the indie circuit – the Oscar-garlanded Moonlight  and Call Me By Your Name  being the most high-profile examples – it's a surprise to learn that director Greg Berlanti's extraordinary drama is the first mainstream studio release to put a closeted teen front and center. (Television has been way ahead for years on this front.) This adaptation of Becky Albertalli's YA novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda  goes gentler into the topic than you might expect – or perhaps want. But the safe, PG-13 approach could win a wider audience for a movie that gay teens, raised on straight romcoms, have been longing to see for generations.

It helps that Berlanti, who's been making innovative changes on the TV teen scene with shows ranging from Dawson's Creek  to Riverdale, is the just the guy to bring a cutting edge to the non-threatening script from the This Is Us  team of Elizabeth Berger and Isaac Aptaker. It also helps that he's a whiz with actors. Nick Robinson (Jurassic World) is wonderfully funny and touching as Simon Spier, a senior at an Atlanta high school where coming to terms with your sexuality is, well, as hard as it is anywhere else. His parents (Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel) seem liberal enough to handle the news. But Simon is too uncertain to open up to them about sex. Did Dad just refer to some guy as "fruity?" Yes, he did.

"I'm just like you, except I have one huge-ass secret," our hero informs us in a voiceover as he watches a hunky gardener get busy with a leaf blower. He hangs at school with Leah (Katherine Langford), soccer jock Nick (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.) and new girl Abby (Alexandra Shipp), but these loyalists – or his friend with the acidic wit, Ethan (Clark Moore, terrific) – are not enough to spur him to say it loud and say it proud. Berlanti keeps the laughs bubbling with these characters and with the school's vice-principal (Tony Hale) and drama teacher (all hail Natasha Rothwell!). But the fear nagging at Simon never really dissipates.

That's one reason why he starts an anonymous online hook-up with a classmate, who calls himself "Blue" and seems equally reluctant to tell the world who he is and what he feels. Their email relationship is the core of the film as Simon tries to ID Blue from a list of suspects. including studly Bram (Keiynan Lonsdale), musician Cal (Miles Heizer) and friendly waiter Lyle (Joey Pollari). In a highlight scene, Simon imagines an out future for himself in college set to a Whitney Houston dance number. Things get complicated when Martin (Logan Miller), a creepy classmate, discovers Simon's secret and threatens to blackmail him with it unless he sets him up on a date with Abby.

Yes, the plot mechanics tend to lean toward the disappointingly slick and sitcom-ish. But what redeems the film and makes it such an exuberant gift is the sincere joy Berlanti and the actors take in celebrating its protagonist's growing self awareness. Love, Simon is a John Hughes movie for audiences who just got woke. And for all its attempts not to offend, it's a genuine groundbreaker.


« Last Edit: April 01, 2018, 10:24:14 am by Aloysius J. Gleek »
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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As a coming out story, Love, Simon  might seem too shiny at times, but that’s part of the point. Simon (Nick Robinson) is a white teen who lives in a big house, wears adorable jean jackets, and has a supportive and diverse group of friends. His parents are almost perfect; his mom is a mental health professional (Jennifer Garner) who’s ready to talk about monumental things, without judgment, at any moment.

But even for Simon — who seemingly has everything — the decision to come out is monumental. Life-altering. Sometimes devastating. Even with accepting parents and friends, Simon is confronted by a list of heteronormative statements before he’s finished with breakfast. The audience is forced to ask how it would all go down if Simon didn’t have everything. That point isn’t forgotten; the question is implied throughout the story.





https://www.bostonglobe.com/arts/movies/2018/03/15/love-simon-says-lot-and-all-good/Lik1dJ2JTJL4OeV5TWQBtI/story.html


Love, Simon
says a lot, and it’s all good
★★★½
By Meredith Goldstein  
March 15, 2018



From left:  Jorge Lendeborg Jr. (Nick), Nick Robinson (Simon), Alexandra Shipp (Abby), and Katherine Langford (Leah) in  Love, Simon,
an adaptation of the beloved young adult novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda.

Ben Rothstein / Twentieth Century Fox



Fans of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda — the beloved 2015 young adult novel by Becky Albertalli — can relax and celebrate. Love, Simon, the film adaptation of the book, is great. It’s not exactly  like the novel, but it captures the best parts of it.

Those who haven’t read the book should know that Love, Simon  is a sweet, modern romantic comedy that manages to channel the teen movie classics of the late John Hughes, but only the good stuff. It’s also a deeply empathetic story about a teenager who’s forced to come out to a community of loved ones.

Part of the success of the film can be credited to Nick Robinson, who is perfect as Simon, a well-liked high school senior who’s gay and doesn’t know how — or when — to share. After reading a revealing post on a school gossip blog, Simon begins a secret correspondence with another gay student at school. He falls in love with him, even though the identity of the object of his affection is a mystery.

As the notes progress, Simon finds himself wondering “Is it you?” about every adorable boy he interacts with at school. His hopes are played out in imaginative, swoony fantasy sequences.

The film finds tension when Simon’s e-mails are discovered by Martin (Logan Miller), an obnoxious kid at school, who’s infatuated with Simon’s close friend Abby (Alexandra Shipp). With the notes in his possession as screen shots on his phone, Martin blackmails Simon into helping him impress Abby. The plots of love and deceit get pretty Shakespearean, for better and worse.

Robinson, who was your basic, one-note heartthrob in last year’s YA adaptation Everything, Everything, shows range as the hero of Love, Simon. Every wild emotion plays out on his face, and the audience is forced to cringe and celebrate right along with him. In an early screening of the film, teenagers and adults were spotted covering their eyes, laughing, and lip-biting. There was also giggling and crying.

The actor is aided by screenwriters (Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, of This Is Us) who don’t patronize their audience; a director, Greg Berlanti, who understands the look and feel of good teen stories (he’s an executive producer on the CW’s Supergirl  and Riverdale); and a supporting cast that includes Jorge Lendeborg Jr. as Simon’s cool-yet-vulnerable friend Nick; Katherine Langford, of 13 Reasons Why, as Simon’s platonic life partner Leah; and Shipp, who’s a standout as the new girl navigating a group of friends who have known each other forever. Clark Moore also steals scenes as a student who’s already told everyone he’s gay.

As a coming out story, Love, Simon  might seem too shiny at times, but that’s part of the point. Simon is a white teen who lives in a big house, wears adorable jean jackets, and has a supportive and diverse group of friends. His parents are almost perfect; his mom is a mental health professional (Jennifer Garner) who’s ready to talk about monumental things, without judgment, at any moment.

But even for Simon — who seemingly has everything — the decision to come out is monumental. Life-altering. Sometimes devastating. Even with accepting parents and friends, Simon is confronted by a list of heteronormative statements before he’s finished with breakfast. The audience is forced to ask how it would all go down if Simon didn’t have everything. That point isn’t forgotten; the question is implied throughout the story.

The wealth in Love, Simon  can also get distracting at times (the carnival at Simon’s school is like the one at the end of Grease . . . times 1,000). But at its heart, Simon  is a romantic comedy, and those stories often go big. Apartments in rom-coms are usually too well-designed to be real; proclamations of love sometimes end in over-the-top proposals and inconceivable flash mobs. It’s part of the cinematic experience of being magically smitten, which, by the end of the film, is all we want for Simon — and maybe for ourselves, too.



"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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Love, Simon  is so accessible that gay teens don’t even appear to be its target audience; rather, the movie seems more ideally suited to young women — essentially the U.S. equivalent of the avid female readership that sustains Japan’s massive yaoi  comic-book market. If this pioneering film is a success (a big “if,” since the young men who need it most might be too self-conscious to see it in theaters), expect more female-friendly gay-male love stories marketed at teens — the ultimate upside of which will be a chance to show those struggling with oppression, suicidal thoughts, and the other trappings of the closet that they are not alone, and need not feel ashamed.




http://variety.com/2018/film/reviews/love-simon-review-1202711159/


FILM REVIEW
Love, Simon
A studio-made romantic comedy for teens with a closeted gay protagonist marks
an important first, even if the movie is pretty much average in all other respects.


By Peter Debruge
@AskDebruge
 
FEBRUARY 26, 2018



The cast of Simon's family: Nick Robinson (Simon), Talitha Bateman (Nora), Jennifer Garner (Emily), and Josh Duhamel (Jack) in Love, Simon.
Photograph by Ben Rothstein / Twentieth Century Fox /



By the time your average American teen experiences his or her first kiss, they’ve probably seen hundreds, if not thousands, of heterosexual smooches on screen. But what about Simon Spier, the handsome, well-liked high-school senior at the center of writer-director Greg Berlanti’s Love, Simon? He has “a perfectly normal life” in all ways but one: Simon is gay. As such, he doesn’t have a lifetime of positive pop-culture representations coaching him on how to assume his true identity.

The first studio-made, teen-targeted romantic comedy to focus on a closeted gay protagonist coming out in high school, Love, Simon  proves groundbreaking on so many levels, not least of which is just how otherwise familiar it all seems, from laugh-out-loud conversations in the school hallways to co-ed house parties where no one drives drunk, and no one gets past first base. Lucky for Simon (played by an affable, easy-to-identify-with Nick Robinson), even his home situation is healthy, considering that his parents (played by Josh Duhamel and Jennifer Garner) are still together and remain supportive at all times — though nothing they say can hold a candle to the father-son heart-to-heart in Call Me by Your Name.

Conveniently enough, the only real conflict is Simon’s secret, and the fact that he’s developing a virtual crush on another kid at school. It all starts when Simon (who fantasizes about the hunk with the leaf blower who tends his neighbor’s yard, making it pretty clear from the outset that this isn’t just some phase that can be prayed away) discovers a revealing post by a fellow student on the school’s gossip blog: Though the author doesn’t sign his name, he admits to being gay and opens up about the way it makes him feel.

Emboldened by his mystery classmate’s candor, Simon decides to contact the author of the post — under the safety of a pseudonym. In what passes for the 21st-century equivalent of lovers meeting at a masquerade ball, the two teens start to fall for one another online, sharing feelings they’ve never dared to speak aloud without knowing one another’s names. Simon signs his letters “Jacques,” while his new pen pal calls himself “Blue.” (There is one openly gay student, Ethan, at Simon’s Atlanta high school, played by Clark Moore, but he isn’t Simon’s type — Simon clearly has more hangups than simply being gay, but what teenager doesn’t?)

Naturally, Simon is dying to know who the other closeted student might be, and to throw audiences off the scent, Blue’s letters are read by different voices throughout the film, depending on who Simon suspects he might be at any given time. Simon and Blue’s sweet e-pistolary relationship is only just beginning when Simon makes a stupid error and leaves his Gmail account open on a library computer, narrowly avoiding the nosy gaze of vice principal Worth (Tony Hale, a highlight), while inadvertently outing himself to class weirdo Martin (Logan Miller).

The sort of goofball character one is more likely to find in a Nickelodeon series than in real life, Martin isn’t a bad person per se, but he does an unconscionable thing, exploiting the situation and blackmailing Simon into helping him arrange a date with out-of-his-league friend Abby (Alexandra Shipp). While we can certainly understand why Simon might play along, the decisions he makes are purely selfish, and cause great turmoil among his social circle — not just Abby, but best bud Nick (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.), who’s had a crush on Abby since she transferred to their school six months earlier, and longtime friend Leah (Katherine Langford), who can barely hide her feelings for Simon — all of which makes it increasingly difficult to sympathize with what he’s willing to sacrifice in order to keep his secret.

It takes enormous courage to come out in high school. It’s a period marked by peer pressure and bullying for most teens, and one can’t blame most adolescents — gay or straight — for wanting to keep their heads down. On television, Glee  tackled many of these issues from the relatively flamboyant sphere of the school stage (which factors here, via a hilariously awful production of Cabaret  overseen by comedy MVP Natasha Rothwell as the school’s exasperated drama teacher). But let it be said: Love, Simon  is precisely the kind of movie its main character so desperately needs — which means, Simon is about to become the model for an entire demographic that has had to do without, until now.

That doesn’t mean Simon is perfect — far from it, in fact, and Elizabeth Berger and Isaac Aptaker’s script, adapted from Becky Albertalli’s YA novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, doesn’t let him off easy for his flaws. And it doesn’t even mean that this is a particularly great film, although it’s no worse than most of the other teen movies out there (and a good deal funnier than most). At a cultural moment when it matters so much for audiences to see themselves represented on screen, Love, Simon  broadens the spectrum to include those who are questioning their sexuality. For the longest time, gay audiences had to content themselves with being relegated to best friend roles. But what if the gay person is you, the leading man in your own story?

A film like this will be analyzed, critiqued, and debated from countless angles (homophobes will accuse of it “turning people gay,” while queer advocates may fault it for casting a straight-identifying actor in such a high-profile gay role), but there’s no question that it’s a start. Berlanti launched his directing career with the gay indie The Broken Hearts Club, before finding his footing in television, and this feels like the product of the 15 or so years he’s spent producing shows like Dawson's Creek  and Riverdale (complete with broad acting, too-close framing, and an over-obvious score). It doesn’t feel any more true-to-life than the Disney Channel’s High School Musical  series did, but it demonstrates a refreshing John Hughes-like frankness about the subject of sex (mainly, that it’s a natural thing that people do when they love one another) in a genre that’s too often neutered, or worse, exploited for American Pie-style raunch.

Love, Simon  is so accessible that gay teens don’t even appear to be its target audience; rather, the movie seems more ideally suited to young women — essentially the U.S. equivalent of the avid female readership that sustains Japan’s massive yaoi  comic-book market. If this pioneering film is a success (a big “if,” since the young men who need it most might be too self-conscious to see it in theaters), expect more female-friendly gay-male love stories marketed at teens — the ultimate upside of which will be a chance to show those struggling with oppression, suicidal thoughts, and the other trappings of the closet that they are not alone, and need not feel ashamed.



"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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Fair warning--if you don't like spoilers, do not read anything referencing the March 20 2018 New Yorker  review posted here below:








Eventually, Simon (Nick Robinson) gets his boy and there is a big, smacking kiss at the end. But Greg Berlanti’s balancing act for the mainstream leaves little room for the physical expression of gay love. Even compared with, say, Moonlight, or Call Me By Your Name, this film is chaste; it avoids the oddball raunchiness of mid-aughts efforts like She’s The Man  and Mean Girls. The real romance is between Simon and his own true public identity; his coming out is far more important than his desire.




https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/the-chaste-optimism-of-love-simon

Culture Desk
The Chaste Optimism of
Love, Simon

By Doreen St. Félix   March 20, 2018


In Love, Simon, the director Greg Berlanti’s balancing act for the mainstream leaves little room for the physical expression of gay love.
Photograph by Ben Rothstein / Twentieth Century Fox / Everett




Children’s movies are made, in part, for grownups—their allegories are meant to pacify both parent and child—but the teen movie, like its audience, is more intemperate. Alternately generous and cruel, it teaches its viewers that life isn’t fair, but that, in spite of pain, they should continue to believe in it. In other words, its job is to break hearts. In the summer of 2014, I sat behind two girls at a matinee of The Fault in Our Stars, adapted from John Green’s young-adult novel; the loudness of their weeping, as Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort, playing the fatefully linked Hazel and Augustus, were both slowly debilitated by cancer, moved me far more than the histrionics onscreen. There was a similar energy at a recent viewing of Love, Simon, Greg Berlanti’s new adaptation of Becky Albertalli’s 2015 novel, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. On the way in, a teen-ager with lime-green hair careened into me. “I just have to get a good seat,” she said, sweet and shrill.

The film opens on Simon (Nick Robinson), waking among his bedroom juvenilia in a spruce Georgia suburb. He peers out of his window, yearning for the boy cutting the neighbor’s lawn. “Simon!” a voice pined from the back of the theatre. The audience knew the contours of the character; in Albertalli’s novel, Simon is a closeted high-school junior, a jumpy intellectual, sarcastic and melancholy. He makes a playlist of Elliott Smith and the Smiths called “The Great Depression”; he also peppers his speech with “freaking” and “awesome.” He’s a bit of a goober, on the page—an adorable one, deep in heartsickness. In the book, he’s five feet seven; Robinson, playing an alpha brooder who clenches his jaw and squints like a baby-faced DiCaprio, towers over his provokers.

Berlanti has tweaked Albertalli’s novel in more meaningful ways, too, turning the delirious coming-of-age tale into something more domestic. The novel’s drama derives from Simon’s secret Gmail correspondence with an anonymous student at his school, also closeted, and every other chapter is an assemblage of their letters. The reader takes pleasure in identifying the traits of the escalating communication: the time stamps between messages shorten; the confessions in the body of each e-mail lengthen. The boys start to fantasize about sex, what it would feel like. Berlanti’s film excises much of this; Simon narrates just a few letters in voice-over, and spends most of his time dodging his classmate Martin, a squirrely antagonist who threatens to out Simon unless he sets him up with the plucky and gorgeous Abby. Eventually, Simon gets his boy and there is a big, smacking kiss at the end. But Berlanti’s balancing act for the mainstream leaves little room for the physical expression of gay love. Even compared with, say, Moonlight, or Call Me By Your Name, this film is chaste; it avoids the oddball raunchiness of mid-aughts efforts like She’s The Man  and Mean Girls. The real romance is between Simon and his own true public identity; his coming out is far more important than his desire.

Berlanti, who was himself closeted in high school, has been a guardian of teen dramas since the nineties. As the showrunner of Dawson’s Creek, he orchestrated the smooch between the football star Jack McPhee and his handsome prom date in Season 3. (“There hadn’t been a gay kiss that was romantic on primetime TV,” he reminisced to Vanity Fair, earlier this year.) Berlanti has since sired a bundle of superhero romps that air on the CW, but Riverdale, an Archie  comic rewrite, is the scene stealer. Attitudes about prime-time sex in general have considerably loosened since Dawson’s Creek, and Riverdale, a murder mystery in which the gay son of the town sheriff cruises at night, is very horny.

Love, Simon  keeps its protagonist more firmly in check, hewing safely to the heterosexual values of teen romantic comedies, all the while earning Fox its promotional crown of backing “the first mainstream gay teen movie.” In a review, Richard Lawson made the bittersweet observation that there had been no such guide when he was younger, but noted that he wished that Robinson’s Simon “read, frankly, a bit gayer.” (Keiynan Lonsdale, who plays his beau, Blue, came out as bisexual to his followers on Instagram after the film’s completion.) In Albertalli’s book, two of Simon’s friends, Abby and Nick, take him to a gay bar, where he experiences a sense of sublime recognition. The film omits the scene, and instead includes a jokey replacement: a dream sequence in which Simon, a student at “Liberal University,” lacquers his dorm wall with posters of Whitney Houston and dances in rainbow on the quad. He then snaps out of it, shakes his head. This isn’t him; he’s not a stereotype. “I’m just like you,” Simon says, breaking the fourth wall. In such interior monologues, Simon is constantly assuaging the young audience’s anxiety about gayness manifesting in clichéd difference; he is, instead, the poster child of what is sometimes called “homonormativity.”

The film, which leans on the de-facto distinction of its leading man—his gayness—forgets to give him quirks. Simon and his friends are an affluent, telegenic crew, who drink drive-through iced coffees before pulling into the parking lot at Creekwood High. The script is limber and funny, swapping in the contemporary references from the 2015 book with newer quips; one kid, clad in a relaxed button-down and a kitschy lei, goes to a Halloween party dressed like “post-retirement Obama.” Simon gets in a dig at his perfect parents, played by Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel, about how their generation loved Bill Cosby. Garner is the “cool mom,” defined not, as is usually the case, by a character flaw (alcoholism, anxiety) but by her political bona fides; she makes protest signs about taking down the patriarchy. It’s clear that Simon’s parents would never have a problem with his sexuality, and neither would his friends—that the struggle, for him, is mostly internal. Berlanti delights in his idea of Gen Z, affirming the studies that forecast that these Americans will reject the “whitelash” and be more queer, more tolerant, than those before them. The two homophobic jocks at Creekwood are repulsive brutes whom no one likes; one of Simon’s classmates, Ethan, who reads as flamboyant, regularly outwits them.

But surely teen-age viewers, who otherwise lose themselves in queer fan-fictions on Tumblr, who march on the street for their rights, could have handled a bolder artwork, one that captured something of gay love rather than making a statement about the straight acceptance of it? The film is as sweet as bubble-gum-flavored medicine; it arrives as if without cinematic lineage—unburdened by cinema’s history of equating gayness with death. It just stops short of producing a picture of gay attraction. I am a mark, but the climactic reunion in the novel—in which Simon sends Blue one last e-mail, inviting him to meet for a ride on the Ferris wheel at a local carnival—made me weep. (“Our pinkie fingers are maybe an inch apart, and it’s as if an invisible current runs through them.”) In the film, the boys’ conversation is intercut with shots of the crowd, roaring from the ground. The moment is tepid—their kiss a win for representation rather than the climax of a consuming crush. A few minutes later, Simon picks up his new boyfriend on his way to school, and Berlanti has them kiss a second time. The coda made the theatre roar. And it was their cheering, not the kiss, that made me emotional.



Doreen St. Félix is a staff writer at The New Yorker    newyorker.com.








Hmmm. It does seem
rather sweet--


[youtube=960,540]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0rh1xduHyE[/youtube]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0rh1xduHyE

Ferris wheel scene from Love, Simon
Nick Robinson and Keiynan Lonsdale

Love, Simon kiss scene 😍😍
This movie was sooooo goood . You guys need to watch Love, Simon immediately !!!



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Iamspicyfruitcup
Published on Mar 18, 2018








A bit more from
the Ferris wheel scene--
(and that kiss)--now I
really want to see the
final scene/coda kiss!


[youtube=960,540]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLBaQIcn1xQ[/youtube]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLBaQIcn1xQ

Ferris wheel scene from Love, Simon
('Blue' Revealed)
Nick Robinson and Keiynan Lonsdale



Rhenz17
Published on Mar 21, 2018








Ok, here we are again--
looks like this is the
final scene/coda kiss--
but only for about half
a second--damn!


[youtube=960,540]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MQB4E8NOuI[/youtube]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MQB4E8NOuI


Simon and Bram in Love, Simon
'Blue' (Bram) Revealed
Nick Robinson and Keiynan Lonsdale



AccioTargaryen
Published on Mar 22, 2018







Finally--
the final scene/coda kiss--
but seen from a seat in
the theater!


[youtube=960,540]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VVT3CVhHpg[/youtube]
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4VVT3CVhHpg



Simon and Bram in Love, Simon
The Coda/Kiss at the end @movie theater goes wild
Nick Robinson and Keiynan Lonsdale



Jorge Gomez
Published on Mar 20, 2018

"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline SaraB

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I’m hoping to go to this next weekend.

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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I’m hoping to go to this next weekend.




Lovely! I hope you can give a thumbs up or down. I'm dying to go, but (no joke) exactly five weeks ago today I tripped and fell on a sidewalk and broke my hip. Ouch! I'm only back in my apartment five days and I'm only nominally "mobile". Plus, it snowed today in NYC (again, no joke) so I had to reconcile myself to the annoying facts on the ground as they are and ordered Becky Albertalli’s novel, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, on Amazon (arriving tomorrow by 8 PM). Whew!




"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline SaraB

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Oh John, poor you. Hope you’ll make a good recovery. It’s been cold and wet here, with snow in the north of England. Just a little warmer today though.

I’ve just started the book on my Kindle.

Offline Jeff Wrangler

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  • "He somebody you cowboy'd with?"
Exactly five weeks ago today I tripped and fell on a sidewalk and broke my hip. Ouch! I'm only back in my apartment five days and I'm only nominally "mobile".

OMG, John, that's awful! I'm so sorry to hear it.  :'(

You need a nice young man to run errands for you, do laundry, prepare meals, generally help around the house. ...
"It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellow-men, and travel far and wide."--Charles Dickens.