Plot: Simon (Nick Robinson) seems to have a good life, with loving parents, a supportive little sister, and some great friends, but he feels a little out of place, as he has a secret he is nervous to share. Simon is gay and is hesitant to reveal this to his loved ones, as he worries it will change the dynamics of those relationships. He finds a kindred spirit when an anonymous post on a social media site mirrors his own internal conflict, so at least there’s another student at his school in a similar situation, though Simon has no idea who it could be. He takes a chance to sends an email to the poster, then begins a back and forth as the two discuss their situations, while also getting to know each other and empowering each other in the process. But when his secret is discovered and used against him, it leads to Simon to turn against his friends and engage in some activities he isn’t proud of. Can Simon somehow navigate this sensitive situation and find some happiness in the process?
Entertainment Value: Love, Simon is about as cliched as a teen melodrama can be, using every well worn trope and predictable narrative device possible, but as it involves a gay lead, it does have that one fresh element. While I appreciate the value in this kind of diverse approach, I found the movie to be rather bland and forgettable. As I said, it does little we haven’t seen before and not much time is spent on Simon’s internal scenarios, it is glossed over in favor of broad, shallow humor. I would have loved a more sensitive, in depth look at Simon’s situation, like a romantic comedy version of Beach Rats, but that’s not the case. This movie also seems to want to shoehorn in 80s genre tropes, but given the time period involved, these elements stand out as hollow and overly forced. The creepy teacher talking to his students about his sex life, the hate speech in front of school officials, and Simon betraying his friends without hesitation, these kind of touches seem out of place here. But if you just want a silly, broad teen comedy with some light romance, Love, Simon fills that quotient. I just wish it had substance and took some risks, instead of hoping a gay protagonist would distract people from an otherwise dull, paint by numbers picture.
No nakedness. The movie is mean spirited in numerous ways, but takes a more sweet, saccharine approach to the sexual elements. So aside from some romantic emails and some gentle kisses, no sleaze or sex in this one. No blood. The movie has no violence and given the brisk, light tone involved, that is to be expected. The dialogue has some bright spots, but also has a lot of cringe moments and mean spirited elements, which seems odd for a film of this kind. Love, Simon forces in hate speech that is openly hurled in front of school officials, who allow it to go unpunished until a contrived, flourish of comeuppance can arrive. The same can be said for the creepy principal and lack of emotional depth with Simon and his friends, the movie cuts a lot of corners and suffers for those shortcuts. But some of the humor lands and even some dramatic moments hit, such as Simon’s after-party talk with Leah. On the craziness front, the movie is about as predictable and cliche filled as a teen comedy can be, with no surprises, fresh touches, or even attempts to be creative or original.
Overall Insanity: 0/10