I’ve seen plenty of teen High School movies, and plenty of rom-coms, but this is a first, a GAY teen High School rom-com!
The times they are a-changing.
Before anyone says there have been other films covering the subject, this is the first major studio backed film that has, and it deserves praise for doing so. The fact that it’s actually quite good is a bonus.
Simon is a popular, handsome 17-year-old, with loving, liberal parents, a younger sister he actually likes, and three friends who are always there for him. There’s only one problem: he’s gay.
Then another boy at school posts anonymously on the web that he’s gay too. ‘Blue’, as he calls himself, strikes a chord with Simon, who, replying as ‘Jacques’, befriends him.
Friendship turns to something deeper, until another student, Martin, discovers their emails and blackmails Simon into helping him win the heart of Abbey, one of his closest friends…
Despite the dark premise, this is a sparkling gem of a film. There are good performances all round, and the writing captures the pain and selfishness of being a teenager. There are some good lines and scenes, such as Simon imagining himself coming out at college as a musical number, or when his John Lennon fancy dress costume is mistaken as ‘Cool Jesus’.
Tony Hale from Veep is also funny as the Principal who is ‘down with the kids’, while still confiscating their mobile phones for texting in the halls.
It’s not without faults though. Simon’s life is just TOO perfect, his family too nice. No gay-bashing or hate-crime here, but to be fair, rom-coms aren’t about reality.
Some of the characters could be developed more, such as his parents, Martin the nerdy blackmailer, and also the Principal, who becomes a little wearing towards the end.
It’s to the film’s credit that it doesn’t flinch from making Simon’s actions selfish. He manipulates his friends own blossoming romance so as not to be outed.
The ending is, well, it IS a romantic comedy, so I’m sure you’ll work it out long beforehand. Another plus is the awesome soundtrack, with songs old and new, which totally won my heart with its sublime use of Waterloo Sunset by The Kinks. This film is definitely worth a look in my opinion.
‘As long as I gaze on Waterloo sunset, I am in paradise….’