MOVIE REVIEW: Love, Simon (2018)

Love, Simon is a surprisingly, radically-inclusive coming-of-age tale that wins you over with its universal truths.

Love, Simon kicks off with its titular character declaring in a voice-over that he’s just a typical teenager (“I’m just like you”) then the film cuts to a montage that highlights his upper-middle class credentials: his beaming family and their beautiful model house, his first SUV, his cool, ethnically-diverse friends sipping on their iced-coffees, etc. Well, Simon’s straight-out-of-catalog existence makes him anything but your ‘typical teenager’. It got me worried for a minute. Is this going to be the type of teen movie that is written by people who don’t understand teenagers at all? Director Greg Berlanti proves this otherwise so I swept this slight misstep under the rug. Simon’s seemingly perfect life is a facade and once you get past it, the film delivers a heartfelt story of self-liberation.

And so, the film reveals a common denominator. Like most of us, Simon’s been harboring a “huge ass secret.” In his case, he’s gay and no one knows anything about it. We are given enough reasons to believe that Simon outing himself in public will not be the end of his world. He’s in a much safer environment after all: he has a liberal-minded family that will not shun him plus, a supportive group of friends that will stand by him. His biggest fear is actually how these people around him will fundamentally change their perspective towards him. The film presents an interesting dichotomy of declaring your difference to the world yet still wanting things to be the same as ever. What will people expect of him moving forward? Is he supposed to let his ‘gay flag’ fly once he’s in college? Simon visualizes his future in an exuberant and hilarious Whitney Houston dance/dream sequence. He is, after all, a confused teenager who don’t know what he asks for.

While most queer films often equate coming out as a death sentence, Love, Simon feels progressive. Simon does not see his sexuality as an abnormality or an aberration, it’s just a part of him that he’s learning to embrace. Most of the conflict here is actually an internal struggle and sure, you could wish for more cinematic tension. But once the film lays out his moments of introspection, it turns up more affecting than what we expect it to be. There is a sustained level of inclusivity throughout Simon’s emotional journey that it will not take a gay person to understand what he’s going through. The emotions transcended are universal and we all know them too well: the agony of keeping a dark secret to yourself, the itching anxiety of waiting for someone’s reply, the humiliation from doing grand romantic gestures, the blindsiding confusion from misreading your friend’s mixed signals, etc. The film falls squarely in the coming-of-age category but it isn’t interested in rehashing the tired tropes of social food chain, overrated prom nights, graduation farewells, and so on. It all suddenly feels refreshing.

But even if you’re not emotionally invested at all here, the film still finds a way to captivate its viewers’ attention. The film’s mystery is the identity of “Blue”, an equally-reluctant closeted gay student to which Simon sparks up a digital romance with. The two confide each other’s deepest secrets including their embarrassing sexual awakenings (involving Harry Potter and Jon Snow, don’t ask) and as the story places us in Simon’s shoes, we begin to speculate who could his penpal be? Is it the popular jock? His pianist co-thespian? His classmate who works in the local diner? This guessing game allows our protagonist’s longings drift from one prospect to another, playing out in hypothetical scenarios.

Going back on the subject of portraying teenagers in films, director Greg Berlanti genuinely cares about the teen experience, especially their approach towards young love. The characters come out with a right mix of intelligence, complexity and naivety (as it should be). The film also benefits from a clever and sympathetic script by Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger (two of the writers behind the heartwarming series This is Us). Simon (Nick Robinson) and his group of friends Leah (Katherine Langford), Abby (Alexandra Shipp) and Nick (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.) deliver strong performances, managing to be both authentic and likeable. Leah says at one point, “Sometimes I think I’m destined to care so much about one person, it nearly kills me,” this is how sensitive smart teenagers talk. We even get to understand the psyche of Simon’s annoying classmate Martin (Logan Miller), how he’s misguided as opposed to being completely malevolent. It all boils down to seeking love and validation from the people around them. Because that’s what teenagers really care about.

But if I were to pick a line that’s representative of the whole film it will be from a poignant scene where Simon’s mom (Jennifer Garner) says to him, “This last few years, it’s almost like I can feel you holding your breath. You can exhale now.” This is exactly how the film feels like – a long overdue exhale. This is a story of a young man who comes into his own terms and finally takes charge of his story. Admittedly, the third act feels saccharine that you can almost shoehorn a Taylor Swift chorus in the end but as the whole theater cheered for Simon, I couldn’t help but feel uplifted as well.

Love, Simon is not groundbreaking by any means and still could’ve used a more realistic touch present in indie films. Still, the movie ends up as a competent descendant to seminal teen classics like The Breakfast Club. It does not present the audience with an overt agenda or a didactic lecture on LGBTQ rights, it simply says that everyone, no matter who they love, deserves a great love story.

Love, Simon wins you over with its universal truths, and for that, this ends up as one of the most important films of the year.


4 out of 5 stars


Distributed by 20th Century Fox, ‘Love, Simon‘ will have its paid advance screenings on April 30 and May 1, 2018 in select PH cinemas. Opens nationwide on May 9, 2018.

Starring: Nick Robinson, Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp, Josh Duhamel, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Keiynan Lonsdale, Logan Miller and Jennifer Garner. Directed by Greg Berlanti from a screenplay by Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger. Based on the novel ‘Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda’ by Becky Albertalli.

Runtime: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Here’s where you can watch early screenings of ‘Love, Simon’ in the Philippines

Be the first to watch the much-anticipated gay coming-of-age film, “Love, Simon,” during its early screenings this April 30 and May 1. That’s one week ahead of its May 9 wide release!

From 20th Century Fox and the producers of the Twilight series and The Fault in Our Stars (Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen of Temple Hill Entertainment), here comes “Love, Simon”, the most socially relevant YA film ever to be produced, overflowing with universal feels based on the book by Becky Albertalli.

READ MORE:
Love, Simon Review: a surprisingly, radically-inclusive coming-of-age tale that wins you over with its universal truths.

See the list of cinemas below.

Metro Manila cinemas:
  • Alabang Town Center
  • Ayala 30th Mall
  • Ayala Cloverleaf
  • Ayala Feliz
  • Ayala Solenad
  • Ayala South Park
  • Ayala Vertis
  • Bonifacio High Street
  • Fairview Terraces
  • Filinvest
  • Gateway
  • Glorietta 4
  • Greenhills Theater Mall
  • Lucky Chinatown
  • Market! Market!
  • Newport
  • Powerplant
  • Robinsons Ermita
  • Robinsons Galleria
  • Robinsons Metro East
  • Rockwell Santolan
  • Shang Cineplex
  • SM Bacoor
  • SM Centerpoint
  • SM East Ortigas (Director’s Club)
  • SM Fairview
  • SM Mall of Asia
  • SM Manila
  • SM Marikina
  • SM Megamall
  • SM North EDSA
  • SM Southmall
  • Southwoods
  • Sta. Lucia East
  • Trinoma
  • U.P. Town Center
  • Uptown Mall
  • Venice Cineplex
Provincial cinemas:
  • Abreeza Davao
  • Alturas Bohol
  • Ayala Center Cebu
  • Ayala Legazpi
  • Centrio Cagayan
  • Gaisano Davao
  • Gaisano Gensan
  • Gaisano Tagum
  • Harbor Point
  • KCC Gensan
  • KCC Marbel
  • KCC Zamboanga
  • Marquee Angeles
  • Mindpro Zamboanga
  • Screenville Bohol
  • SM Iloilo
  • SM Seaside Cebu (Director’s Club)

‘Love, Simon’ to have paid advance screenings on April 30, May 1

From 20th Century Fox and producers Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen of Temple Hill Entertainment, producers of the phenomenally successful Twilight series and The Fault in Our Stars comes “Love, Simon”, the most socially relevant YA film ever to be produced, overflowing with universal feels based on the book by Becky Albertalli.

“Love, Simon” stars this generation’s coolest actors with Nick Robinson in the title role. Robinson’s recent films include “Jurassic World,” “Everything, Everything” and “The 5th Wave.” Along with Robinson, Katherine Langford also stars as Robinson’s best friend, she is best known for her role as Hannah Baker from the phenomenal Netflix series “13 Reasons Why”. Completing the impressive young cast are Keiynan Lonsdale (CW’s “The Flash”), Miles Heizer (“13 Reasons Why”), Alexandra Shipp (“X-Men: Apocalypse”), Jorge Lendeborg Jr. (“Spiderman: Homecoming”), Logan Miller (“Before I Fall”), Talitha Bateman (“Annabelle: Creation”) with Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel. Now a major motion picture, the movie opens up with seventeen-year old Simon Spier’s (Robinson) a little more complicated life: he’s yet to tell his family or friends he’s gay and he doesn’t actually know the identity of the anonymous classmate he’s fallen for online.

“The movie is about family and love. But it is also about secrets,” says Jennifer Garner, who plays Robinson’s mother in the movie. “It’s about letting them out, being who you are and having the courage to really stand up for yourself and say what you need to say. And the movie deals with these themes and the theme of being yourself but in a fun and refreshing way. There is definitely some fun in the movie and it’s not all drama.”

One of the major themes of “Love, Simon” is living your truth, learning to be and accepting yourself. As director Greg Berlanti explains: “It is never too early to be who you are. There are a lot of kids who don’t get to come out in high school and Simon is outed, pulled out, but he learns to accept who he is and live with his own truth and being himself.”

The movie encourages the audience to be courageous and true to themselves. Nick Robinson agrees, “I think everyone had been through this at some point in their lives. Trying to find yourself and being the person that you were meant to be is very universal. I think everybody can relate to that.”

Alexandra Shipp who also forms part of Simon’s core group of friends adds, “I think a lot of teenagers can relate to the struggle because I think that a lot of teenagers are struggling with finding themselves. They don’t know who they are. They don’t have an idea of who they want to be when they grow up. It’s not just about sexuality. It’s about who you really are. Not who you sleep with but who you really are on this planet.”

“At the end of the day,” observes Langford, “This is a big studio making a pro-LGBTQ film and that’s just very cool, you know?” Adds director Greg Berlanti: “It wasn’t a story that I felt already existed. It reflects my own high school experience yet still feels like it’s for everybody, you know? Where the central point of view was something that rang close to home, but what the film had to say was something that everyone could relate to.”

“Love, Simon” opens May 9 nationwide from 20th Century Fox – with whole day sneak previews on April 30 and May 1.

Acclaimed filmmaker Greg Berlanti behind ‘Riverdale,’ ‘Arrow’ directs latest YA movie ‘Love, Simon’

Acclaimed filmmaker Greg Berlanti, the force behind the most inventive and acclaimed works in film and television who has been credited with being at the forefront of introducing gay characters and storylines into mainstream entertainment helms the upcoming funny and heartfelt coming-of-age story about the thrilling ride of finding yourself and falling in love in “Love, Simon”.

Berlanti is best known for his work in The CW’s Arrow, The Flash, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and Supergirl, collectively referred to as The CW’s Arrowverse. Additionally, Berlanti serves as executive producer on The CW’s Riverdale, Black Lightning, and NBC’s Blindspot. He started in television as a staff writer on the hit show Dawson’s Creek where he was promoted to showrunner by his second year on the series.

“Love, Simon” was adapted from Becky Albertalli’s young adult novel Simon vs The Homo Sapien’s Agenda. Published in January 2012, the book won the William C. Morris Award for Best Young Adult Debut of the Year and was included in the National Book Award Longlist.

The movie stars today’s up and coming exciting young actors Nick Robinson (Everything, Everything), Katherine Langford (13 Reasons Why), Alexandra Shipp (X-Men: Apocalypse), Logan Miller (Before I Fall), Jorge Lendeborg Jr. (Alita: Battle Angel) and Keiynan Lonsdale (The Flash) along with award-winning Jennifer Garner and versatile actor Josh Duhamel.

Directed by Berlanti, with a screenplay by Elizabeth Berger & Isaac Aptaker, “Love, Simon” finds seventeen-year old Simon Spier in a love story that is a little more complicated than the ordinary teen: he’s yet to tell his family or friends he’s gay and he doesn’t actually know the identity of the anonymous classmate he’s fallen for online. Resolving both issues proves hilarious, terrifying and life-changing not just for him but also those around him.

Producers Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen have become adept at recognizing literature that is ideal for screen adaptation. Having produced the phenomenally successful Twilight series and the adaptations of The Fault in Our Stars and The Longest Ride, they saw the big screen potential of Albertalli’s story.

“We produce a lot of movies in the young adult space,” says Godfrey. “Every time, you’re trying to find something new and different and fresh that feels like it hasn’t been done before. And fundamentally, we’d never seen a high school romantic comedy with a gay teenage lead. And so that was the thing with the book: we all read it and said, ‘Oh my God, nobody’s done this.’ Nobody’s just unabashedly openly made a movie about a kid that’s going through the process that every gay individual goes through of figuring out their identity and when they should come out. And played it against this great, mysterious, evolving romance. With this anonymous guy online. And the book was hilarious. And the character of Simon was such a winning, lovable, kind of embraceable character that we thought it was worth developing.”

“Love, Simon” opens May 9, 2018, in Philippine cinemas from 20th Century Fox.

WATCH: Nick Robinson stars in new trailer for gay coming-of-age ‘Love, Simon’

From blockbuster filmmakers Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen (“Fault In Our Stars”, “Maze Runner” and “Twilight”) comes another highly-anticipated YA movie “Love, Simon” – about a boy’s coming out and finally facing his anonymous correspondent online whom he’s fallen in love with.

Everyone deserves a great love story. In “Love, Simon”, seventeen-year old Simon Spier’s (Nick Robinson) situation is a little more complicated: he’s yet to tell his family or friends he’s gay and he doesn’t actually know the identity of the anonymous classmate he’s fallen for online. Resolving both issues proves hilarious, terrifying and life-changing.

Directed by Greg Berlanti (Dawson’s Creek, Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl ), written by Isaac Aptaker & Elizabeth Berger (This is Us), and based on Becky Albertalli’s acclaimed novel, “Love, Simon” is a funny and heartfelt coming-of-age story about the thrilling ride of finding yourself and falling in love.

The cast of “Love, Simon” also includes today’s fast-rising talents – Katherine Langford and Miles Heizer (from Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why”), Alexandra Shipp (who played young Storm in “X-Men: Apocalypse”), Logan Miller (“Walking Dead”), Jorge Lendeborg (“Spiderman: Homecoming”) and Keynan Lonsdale (“The Flash”) with Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel.

Love, Simon opens May 9, 2018 in Philippine cinemas from 20th Century Fox.

Teen romance movie ‘Love, Simon’ is big with feels

20th Century Fox has recently released the first look photos of 2018’s most awaited teen movie “Love, Simon”, directed by Greg Berlanti and based on the YA novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli.

At the heels and feels of the highly successful “The Fault In Our Stars”, the movie that gave the world the most unforgettable teenage love story, “Love, Simon” tells the coming-of-age story of Simon Spier (played by Nick Robinson), who has yet to tell his family and friends that he’s gay and that he’s fallen for an anonymous classmate online. Resolving both issues proves hilarious, terrifying and life-changing. “Love, Simon” is a funny and heartfelt story about the thrilling ride of finding yourself and falling in love.

Directed by Greg Berlanti (Riverdale, The Flash), “Love, Simon” also stars Katherine Langford (from 13 Reasons Why), Alexandra Shipp, Jorge Lendeborg, Miles Heizer, Keiynan Lonsdale, Logan Miller, Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel, Tony Hale.

“There’s this one section of the film where Simon imagines this one boy and imagines them kissing underneath the mistletoe at Christmas,” says Berlanti in recent interviews. “In every other major studio film, it’s always the guy and the girl. And there was something so powerful about it being just a guy imagining himself with this other guy in a film again that was going to be marketed and sold as a mainstream romantic comedy.”

“Love, Simon” opens May 9, 2018 from 20th Century Fox to be distributed by Warner Bros.