Nice guy with a secret

Nick Robinson is believable and likeable as the nice guy with a perfect life.
Nick Robinson is believable and likeable as the nice guy with a perfect life. PHOTO: REUTERS

Love, Simon had actors, including Neil Patrick, Matt Bomer and Kristen Bell, buying out cinema hall screenings to support it and one can see its appeal.

This gay teen romance, the first by a major Hollywood studio (20th Century Fox), has a fresh-faced cast and lead Robinson (Jurassic World, 2015) is believable and likeable as the nice guy with a perfect life. Even for someone like Simon though, coming out is something that he wrestles with.

He could have been a dangerously bland victim, but the threat of exposure makes him do some terrible things and there are consequences to his actions. Simon is human after all.

The story is also propelled by the mystery of Blue's identity. But as soon as a possibility emerges - is it his classmate, the waiter at the waffles place or someone else altogether? - it seems to get shot down.

Director Greg Berlanti, who is married to former American professional soccer player Robbie Rogers, created television series such as Dawson's Creek (1998 to 2003) and Everwood (2002 to 2006) - which means he knows his way around teen dramas.

He is sensitive to the emotional ups and downs of teenage life and, if the beats of the story feel a little too familiar, well, at least he had the good sense to pair it with a rocking soundtrack that stays away from over-used songs.

A shout-out to Natasha Rothwell (comedy series Insecure, 2016 to present) for turning a routine supporting character - the sassy drama teacher - into a memorably funny one. There are also warm turns by Garner and Duhamel as the supportive parents in this sweet, love-affirming movie.

  • REVIEW/ROMANCE DRAMA

  • LOVE, SIMON (R21)

    110 minutes/Opens today/

    4/5

    The story: Simon (Nick Robinson) is a regular high school student who has three close friends (Katherine Langford as Leah, Alexandra Shipp as Abby and Jorge Lendeborg Jr as Nick) and a loving family (Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel play his parents). But he has a secret - he is gay. When a fellow student, with the user name Blue, comes out online, Simon starts a correspondence with him. This nascent relationship is threatened when another student, Martin (Logan Miller), stumbles upon their e-mail exchange and blackmails Simon. Based on the young adult novel Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda (2015) by American writer Becky Albertalli.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 03, 2018, with the headline 'Nice guy with a secret'. Print Edition | Subscribe