mtl Movie Reviews by The Dove Foundation
Runtime: 109 minutes
Starring: Nick Robinson, Katherine Langford, Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel
Director: Greg Berlanti
Sex: Lots of kissing between high school students, including same-sex kissing; references to sexual endeavors and characters' sexualities
Language: One "F***"; "S***"; derogatory words for male and female genitals; some uses of "Hell," "A**," "GD" and "God"
Drugs: One party scene where minors drink moderately-to-heavily
Nudity: Few bare chests; somewhat revealing costumes at a party
Integrity: Family and friends show kindness and compassion towards protagonist
Simon Spier keeps a huge secret from his family, his friends, and all of his classmates: he's gay. When that secret is threatened, Simon must face everyone and come to terms with his identity.
Love, Simon plays (and lovingly so) like a classic John Hughes movie, from the charming lead, their quirky friends, the adults around them who just don't understand, and an excellent soundtrack as a backbone. These traits follow a certain formula that we know and expect, and the film nods to them and affirms them. It takes on the same genetic makeup, but with one twist:
Our hero, Simon, is gay.
Nick Robinson plays Simon as a modernized Ferris Bueller, charming and flamboyant in his own way. He knows that he has the love of his best friends and close family at his side. Yet, understandingly, the film treats coming out as a deeply intimate subject. Simon has more to worry about than just his coming out. He is driven by blackmail that affects his friends in equal measures.
With this in mind, Love, Simon plays very comedically Shakespearean, perhaps more than the aforementioned John Hughes film. There are stakes that risk—not just Simon's coming out, but the romantic aspirations of his friends and classmates at school. In this way, the humor and drama of the film find a unique narrative balance.
What many Dove viewers might be most interested in learning about is the film's subject matter, about being gay, coming out, and how to address it. Doubtlessly the film will prove touchy among families who don't want to engage in this discussion at all. But the film has an important message woven through the self-love and the you-be-you sentiment. Simon's parents love him completely and beautifully, and he loves them! That's the most important commandment we're given.
The film's first two acts work so delicately to make us, in fact, love Simon as a character that the fact that he is gay shies from center stage. From a filmmaking standpoint, there is wisdom (or a hidden agenda) to this, in that we are distracted from a "gay-or-straight" story to a story about someone to root for. Even then, rooting is half the battle, and what becomes most important is learning how to love and show genuine kindness to others who are different from us.
The sexual themes, use of language and the sequence of an underage party keep the film from earning Dove approval, but Love, Simon certainly expresses love, kindness and acceptance which we all strive to honor. So amidst the worldview and sexuality issues, we suggest gathering some support to have discussions with your family.
Focus on the Family is a good place to start
Not Dove Family Approved
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