Blu-ray Review: Love, Simon

By , Contributor
The coming-out, coming-of-age story Love, Simon—debuting on Blu-ray (also 4K UltraHD and standard DVD) on June 12, 2018—is an agreeable teen rom-com. High schooler Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) has been hiding his gayness his whole life, even from his best friend Leah (Katherine Langford) and especially his parents (Josh Duhamel and Jennifer Garner). In all ways bright and well-adjusted, Simon has reached the realization that he will not be truly fulfilled in life unless he comes out.

Most of the drama in Greg Berlanti's film (he previously directed Duhamel in Life As We Know It) centers on the email exchanges between Simon and an anonymous gay teen who also attends his high school. The boys bond over their shared desired to out themselves, and the fear that accompanies it. As Simon comes to know more and more about the emailer, who calls himself "Blue," he attempts to suss out just exactly who he is. Many fellow students are pegged as "Blue," only to turn out not to be.

Meanwhile, wily drama nerd Martin (Logan Miller) discovers Simon's secret via an un-logged-off Gmail account on a school library computer. Because Martin is crushing hard on Simon's gal pal Abby (Alexandra Shipp), he blackmails Simon by threatening to reveal the big secret unless he gets a shot at dating Abby.

Anyway, enough with the plot recap. Based on that much alone, you either want to see this rather formulaic film or you don't. Again, I began by calling it "agreeable" and that's pretty accurate. The novelty here is the gay angle, quite frankly, because its general breeziness and predictability wouldn't make any kind of impression if this was about straight kids. The cast is likable—with the exception of Tony Hale as the school principal. Hale was seemingly intent on creating the most annoying, unfunny, grating character possible (and creepily out-of-step with the rest of the film, not Hale's fault but rather the occasionally tone-deaf screenplay by Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger).

The trouble with Love, Simon is that there is actually shockingly little conflict. Big spoiler alert (avert your eyes if you're concerned about learning a plot turn in a film containing very few real plot turns): once Simon is out, no one particularly cares. His family accepts it, his friends come to accept it, and very little changes. Simon is such a level-headed character, his feelings of isolation pre-"coming out" are not particularly intense to begin with (just basing that on what is actually depicted onscreen). And he is met with relatively little trouble once his secret is revealed, outside of a bit of hazing from select students.

But for teens, Love, Simon is certainly recommended as it offers a gentle and sometimes funny tale of tolerance and acceptance. Its characters lack dimension, but as a feature-length PSA about "being yourself" and "respecting others," it is entirely functional.

The Fox Home Entertainment Blu-ray edition (which includes a standard DVD and Digital HD copy) includes commentary by director Greg Berlanti, producer Isaac Klausner, and co-screenwriter Isaac Aptaker. There are also deleted scenes and a series of four featurettes (the best, "The Adaptation," concerns the process of adapting the film from Becky Abertalli's novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda).

Love Simon BD.jpg

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Chaz Lipp is a Las Vegas-based musician and freelance writer. His new jazz album 'Good Merlin' is now available.

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