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Love Simon Review – Four Stars; A Feel Good, Stand and Cheer, Film

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Love Simon, from 20th Century Fox, presents the story of Simon, a really cool kid, with surprisingly understanding parents, three great friends, a budding chef little sister and a secret of epic, or so he thinks, proportions.

Directed by Greg Berlanti, Love, Simon, stars Nick Robinson, Josh Duhamel, Jennifer Garner, Talitha Bateman, Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp, Jorge Lendeborg, Jr., Logan Miller, Tony Hale, and Natasha Rothwell with a strong ensemble of young actors. Love, Simon was written by Elizabeth Burger, Isaac Aptaker and Becky Albertalli.

Love, Simon begins with Simon Spier, played by Nick Robinson, talking the audience through his life. A suburbia experience, cool parents, psychologist mom, played by Jennifer Garner, a super sensitive Dad, played by Josh Duhamel, a younger sister, played by Talitha Bateman, that he genuinely likes, a car, for his 16th birthday, friends, and with graduation looming he is loving life.


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His friends, Leah, played by Catherine Langford, whom he has known forever; Nick, played by Jorge Lendeborg, Jr., his way too cool and totally down to earth friend, and Abby, played by Alexandra Shipp, who joined them this year as she just moved. The four of them are inseparable.

As the school year begins, we find out early Simon has a secret. And as secrets do, he is haunted and burdened that his friends will find out, and worse, the 'what if’s' begin to pop up in his mind like word bubbles. Soon he is back to hiding.

Simon is gay. His friends, family and school populations does not know. He is a handsome straight looking guy, no real telltale signs of same sex orientation, no, snap, fashionista flattering wardrobe choices that would make Queer Eye call him.

On this day however he finds himself web surfing and finds a mysterious message sent from someone who has similar feelings and feels as if his life in on a ferris wheel, with high highs and low lows, pendulum swings from moment to moment as he deals with his acceptance of his own sexual orientation.

Suddenly the two are sending anonymous emails to the other, each writing out their feelings, their hopes, as they deal with the facts of life as Gay teens.

Love, Simon also includes a lesson of epic proportions as Simon uses a school library to check a email after his phone is confiscated by the principal, played by Tony Hale, as this school has phone zones.

Distracted over time, Simon forgets to close out his email, and the school intellectual obnoxious bully, Martin, played by Logan Miller, sits down to use the same computer and finds all the emails between the two.

With his eyes set on Abby, Martin blackmails Simon, explaining unless you do this I’ll tell the world, the whole school, your family and friends of your secret. Cornered Simon believes he has no options.

What follows is comedic, heartbreaking and finally heartwarming.

Love, Simon is a feel good, stand and cheer, film. The subject matter is very difficult topic for many and it doesn't have a polished, sugar coated, ending without intentional injury, hurt, separation and reactionary intolerance and doesn’t back away from the range of reactions. His outing is, of course, retaliatory hate taking everyone by surprise. Shocking his family and friends making him the brunt of hurtful bullying.

As for our Simon, an actually thought I was straight until my teens guy, and as for any teen, different is a proverbial death sentence. His nurturing environment, a loving family, who even when told created positive acceptance.

As it is high school, Love Simon is full of characters. A stand out is Ms. Albright, played by Natasha Rothwell, the drama teacher. As the Senior Play is as much a part of senior year as graduation anyone, it seems who has the courage to show up is invited to be a part of the show. Rothwell is a scene stealer!


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Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel make great parents and take the material and bring a magic to the screen. They capture the internal age conflicts, good parent angst and role model doubts effortlessly. 

The cast of teens led by Nick Robinson, Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp, Jorge Lendeborg, Jr. and Logan Miller sparkle with autheticity. The emotional rollar coaster of life when teens years are waning and adulthood is right around the corner, with no internship to transition teens into the next years, and will the mistakes be forgotten or am I doomed forever remembered by one incident?

Love Simon is encouraging, an emotional, uplifting journey opens March 16, 2018. See this film!

 

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