Love Simon is a typical teenage rites of passage film that pulls out all of the usual teenage clichés even to the extent that you think you have seen this film before.

For a start the film could be accused of taking some of the settings of the recent compelling Netflix original teen drama ‘13 Reasons Why’. It’s based around a High School in a nice middle class suburb and also features two of the ‘3 Reasons’ stars, namely Katherine Langford who played the protagonist and narrator Hannah and the blonde haired outsider Alex played by Miles Heizer.

Your Local Guardian:
Leah (Katherine Langford) and Simon (Nick Robinson)

However, the difference here is that the protagonist Simon (Nick Robinson, Jurassic World) is having to deal with a big secret, the fact that he is gay.

Simon is also this films narrator, leading us through his tortured feelings and his opening line is to make the audience aware that… “I am just like you” a normal teenager.

He has loving Parents in Mum Emily (Jennifer Garner) and Dad Jack (Josh Duhamel) who was ex-High School Jock in his day (that’s a lot of Jack, Josh and Jock’s!) so a lot to live up to. Simon also gets on well with his little Sister Nora played by Talitha Eliana Bateman who is obsessed with baking but is pretty bad at it.  Although he loves his family, Simon is not ready to come out to them just yet.

He hasn’t even confided in his three best friends that he ‘car pools’ with for school, Abby (Alexandra Shipp), Nick (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.) and his life long friend Leah (Katherine Langford). Simon’s life changes when Leah mentions to him that there is a boy in their year who has written an anonymous post on line admitting that he is gay and goes under the pseudonym "Blue".

Simon immediately sees Blue as a kindred spirit and writes to him, also under a pseudonym as Jacques. Although the two boys strike up an online friendship Blue is reluctant to giveaway his real identity but Simon’s imagination runs wild every time a good looking guy from school smiles at him which throws up a few red herrings.

Your Local Guardian:
Simon (Nick Robinson)

To make matters worse Simon makes the mistake of using one of the schools common room computers to converse with Blue and forgets to sign out. Which leads one of the students, Martin (Logan Miller) finding Simon’s email and decides to blackmail him by threatening to ‘Out’ him unless Simon helps him to get a date with Abby.

Can Simon let someone else reveal his secret or is he courageous enough to come out on his own terms?  But in his efforts to keep his gender confidential will he compromise his best friends with Martin’s hold over him?

I think this is a brave ground breaking film and got a huge applause from the audience at the screening.

The film also has a current vibrant soundtrack with a song written by our own Harry Styles. Plus a couple of traditional oldies thrown in with the likes of the Kinks.

There is a dream scene in the High School which had a full singing and dancing musical spectacular with Simon being the centre piece, singing and dancing with the other students, who stops the music to say “I’m not that gay!” which did a big laugh.

Your Local Guardian:
Dad, Jack (Josh Duhamel) and Simon

I have to say this film is extremely compelling and heartfelt and actually quite humorous, especially with actor/producer Tony Hale who plays the whacky Vice Principal Mr. Worth. It was directed by Greg Berlanti who was executive producer of  TV’s Dawsons Creek,  and award winning ‘The Flash’ and ‘Arrow’. So has a very good pedigree.

Young actor Nick Robinson holds the film together extremely well for his first starring feature and he does it with much charm and dignity and I am sure he is destined for great things and a possible Best Newcomer Award.

As mentioned earlier, this movie could have easily been a Netflix Original but I understand that with this particular subject matter the creators and writers wanted to get as larger audience as possible to see this different take on the traditional teenage rom com. No doubt it will make its way onto Netflix soon enough.

Coming Out on DVD / Blu-ray release June 12 2018