Opening 28 Jun 2018
Writing credits: Isaac Aptaker, Elizabeth Berger
Principal actors: Nick Robinson, Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp, Jorge Lendeborg, Keiynan Lonsdale
This double-whammy coming-of-age and coming-out flick has three things going for it: great music, droll humor, and a believable “teen” cast. Simon’s (Nick Robinson) life is normal in every way, says he. At home, kid sis’ (Talitha Bateman) hobby is indulged by great parents (Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel), plus Beaver the cute pooch benefits. At high school, he has three best friends (Katherine Langford, Jorge Lendeborg, Alexandra Shipp). Everything is good as senior year begins, except for “a huge-ass secret”. When a post pops-up on the school’s online bulletin board, Simon “seizes the day” with a counter-offer to Blue, whoever that may be. Preoccupied, Simon’s slipup is Martin’s (Logan Miller) springboard. But when the hormones and trepidations collide, Simon finds a voice with a far wider-reaching effect than anyone dreamed.
Greg Berlanti directs Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger’s screenplay that is based loosely on Becky Albertalli’s 2015 young adult novel, Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. The spunky cast delivers laugh-out-loud one-liners and earnest dialogue with aplomb. Tony Hale as the vice principal, and Natasha Rothwell as the drama teacher deserve a special mention. Rob Simonsen’s music wraps around John Guleserian’s cinematography and Harry Jierjian’s editing. Berlanti chooses a saccharine coating for rather heavy subject matter – an alternate universe that is squeaky clean, affluent, accommodating. Over-the-top scenes include the Ferris wheel rendezvous, whereas a poignantly nice scene is between dad and son toward the end. Many young adult novels tackle issues honestly, which is not the feeling here. Maybe that was the point… considering current political upheavals. Still, wait for the DVD. 110 minutes (Marinell Haegelin)