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THE ALGONQUIN HARBINGER

REVIEW: ‘Love, Simon’ marks milestone in coming of age dramas

'Love,  Simon' conveys story of teen exploring his sexual orientation, signaling an important development in the movie industry.

Courtesy artworxla.org

'Love, Simon' conveys story of teen exploring his sexual orientation, signaling an important development in the movie industry.

Caroline Elfland, Contributing Writer

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Some movies can be made for the sake of the public’s enjoyment. Other movies must be made for the sake of the public’s progression. “Love, Simon” is the latter. It will leave you contemplating if there has ever been a movie made at such a high budget that follows the story of a young person coming to grips with his or her sexual orientation. The answer is never. Despite the static characters and predictable storyline, the fact that this movie exists is a positive thing.

The depth of Nick Robinson’s performance as Simon Spier is a trench that was dug with immense thought and precision. His awareness is innate. Down to each long breath, every movement and reaction has a purpose. Unfortunately, everything else remains above ground. Emily Spier (Jennifer Garner) is the encouraging mother who is very much in love with the hesitant, but inevitably supportive father (Josh Duhamel). They watch from the sideline as Simon navigates his sexual orientation parallel to an anonymous classmate, with whom he exchanges emails. He is complimented by a solid group of millennial friends.

Simon invents the archetype of the doubtful, but compassionate closeted teenager. The way rebels saw themselves in John Bender from “The Breakfast Club” or the sheltered saw themselves in Carrie White from “Carrie,” a whole new generation of kids will know the validity of their existence because someone deemed it necessary to suspend in time. That being said, do not discredit this as simply a “gay movie.” While it is and it very much belongs to the gay community, “Love, Simon” is crucial viewing for all young people, as it is a coming of age piece at its core. What all these teenage film archetypes have in common is that they are misunderstood, just like the real humans the characters strive to mirror.

As for all archetypes, they are generalizations. The scope of Simon’s acceptance is not the reality for some people grappling with their sexual orientation. One could daringly describe the film’s portrayal of this phenomena as cheesy or idealistic. However, those are the films that keep audiences watching. They give us hope. Consider the amount of straight love stories that lack insight, but are regarded as foundation for modern cinema. “Love, Simon” is the latest stone.

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REVIEW: ‘Love, Simon’ marks milestone in coming of age dramas