The gay coming-of-age comedy “Love, Simon” may not seem so groundbreaking in an era when “Moonlight” (2016) could win the Oscar for Best Picture, and when it was age, not gender, that made the same-sex romance “Call Me by Your Name” (2017) somewhat controversial. And it’s relatively common these days to find LGBT characters on the small screen in shows ranging from “Will and Grace” to “Transparent” to “Orange is the New Black.” But it shouldn’t go unnoticed how significant it is for a major Hollywood studio to release a teen movie with a gay lead on over 2,400 screens nationwide — and for no one to freak out about it. We’ve come a long way since “Brokeback Mountain.”
That significance isn’t lost on critics: the film has scored 72 on MetaCritic and 89% freshness on Rotten Tomatoes. That doesn’t put it in “Moonlight” territory in terms of acclaim, and teen comedies aren’t usually awards voters’ cup of tea, but it has brought LGBT stories out of art-house and niche markets and into the mainstream. It’s directed by the openly gay Greg Berlanti, who is currently known for producing the CW’s slate of superhero shows like “Supergirl,” “The Flash,” and “Arrow.” But Berlanti also explored LGBT themes as a writer and producer on other TV shows including “Dawson’s Creek,” “Brothers and Sisters” and “Political Animals.”
Now Berlanti is channeling “the teen movie classics of the late John Hughes” with “Love, Simon,” which is “deeply empathetic,” “hugely charming” and “truly excellent.” It stars Nick Robinson, who is “perfect” as the title character, a closeted high school senior who struggles with whether to come out to his friends and family. And while it’s not as edgy as its indie-film counterparts — it’s ”Call Me By Your Name’ through the lens of the Disney Channel’ — it’s nevertheless “historically significant.”
Will you be seeing “Love, Simon” on opening weekend? Check out some of the reviews below, and join the discussion on this and more with your fellow movie fans in our forums.
Meredith Goldstein (Boston Globe): “‘Love, Simon’ is a sweet, modern romantic comedy that manages to channel the teen movie classics of the late John Hughes, but only the good stuff. It’s also a deeply empathetic story about a teenager who’s forced to come out to a community of loved ones. Part of the success of the film can be credited to Nick Robinson, who is perfect as Simon.”
Benjamin Lee (The Guardian): “It’s easy to forget … that queer characters in mainstream films are still barely visible … This all makes the arrival of ‘Love, Simon’ feel like a bit of a landmark moment … It’s a hugely charming crowd pleaser, an infectiously entertaining coming of age film that feels primed to attract and retain a loyal eager-to-rewatch audience.”
Brian Truitt (USA Today): “Young and old, jocks and nerds, geeks and freaks and everyone in between should be able to find something to adore in ‘Love, Simon.’ Director Greg Berlanti’s coming-of-age tale about a closeted Atlanta high schooler is the first teen film from a major studio about a gay romance, and ‘Love, Simon’ is not only historically significant but also truly excellent.”
Alonso Duralde (The Wrap): “Queer pundits will no doubt take ‘Love, Simon’ to task for being too white, too cisgender, too heteronormative. And they won’t be wrong. But even if this is ‘Call Me By Your Name’ through the lens of the Disney Channel, there’s a place in the culture for adolescent gay kids to enjoy the shiny, shallow, pop-song-infused coming-of-age stories that their straight peers consume on a daily basis.”