Love, Simon, the first mainstream gay teen romance movie, is set to open in cinemas, and the reviews have identified a common theme: It’s like John Hughes, but with progressive social commentary.
Based on Becky Albertalli’s 2015 YA novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, Love, Simon is set to debut to widespread acclaim, with critics praising its big heart, its diverse and talented cast, and its revolutionary normalcy.
Rolling Stone’s Peter Travers says the film is a “John Hughes movie for audiences who just got woke.” It aspires to the perfect amount of sweetness — “it wins you over by capturing your heart without pushing too hard for the prize.” Though he notes that the film appears to walk on eggshells so as to give it universal appeal, that doesn’t detract from its ultimate power; “For all its attempts not to offend, it’s a genuine groundbreaker.”
The Hollywood Reporters’ Jon Frosch agrees, “While there inevitably will be grumbles from those who would have preferred a grittier portrayal of the gay adolescent experience, Love, Simon’s vanilla-ness is also what makes it culturally significant and even slightly subversive.” He also notes its John Hughes similarities, explaining that “the film looks and sounds like so many other mainstream, John Hughes-nostalgic high-school-coms you’ve seen on both big and small screens, just with one difference: The hero is gay.”
Mark Jenkins of SF Gate was less dazzled by the film, which he sees as overly derivative — down to the the fact that it is “stuffed with pop songs,” which is “typical of high-school movies.” To Jenkins, “Simon’s love for rock of the British Invasion is unpersuasive, but then so are all his passions. Like the movie about him, Simon is pleasant, well-meaning and curiously devoid of adolescent hormonal tumult.”
Love, Simon is slated for release on March 29.