Movie review: 'Love, Simon' makes gay teen hero in coming-of-age tale

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Sandy Kenyon reviews 'Love, Simon,' a coming-of-age movie that stars a gay hero.

A new comedy about a young man looking to come out as gay is in the tradition of earlier movies like "The Breakfast Club" and "Sixteen Candles," but it's been updated for this era of cell phones, e-mails and text messages.

"My name is Simon. For the most part, my life is totally normal," the hero and title character tells us in a movie that's sweet, but not overly sentimental.

It's a coming-of-age story told from the perspective of a young man who knows he's gay but just needs to find out how to tell everybody.

The actors who play these teens are too old, and that is always very distracting for me, but Nick Robinson is so good his name deserves to be above the title from now on.

He really sells lines like, "I feel like I am on a Ferris Wheel. One minute I'm on top of the world, the next I'm at rock bottom."

When the movie starts, Simon's posse includes a young woman, who is obviously crushing on him. He's more interested in the yard guy and soon begins an online dialogue via e-mail with another young man.

They disguise their identities because neither of them are ready to come out, but complications develop when Simon's e-mails are discovered, and a classmate threatens to out him.

"I'm supposed to be the one who decides when and where and who knows," Simon angrily tells the perpetrator.

The business around the blackmail is where "Love, Simon" fell short for me, but the star's sincerity always kept me engaged.

Murmurs of approval from millennials sitting near me in the theater told me the picture was even more compelling for them.

There were sounds of broad agreement when the young, gay hero said, "I'm done living in a world where I don't get to be who I am. I deserve a great love story, and I want someone it share it with."

There have been so many coming-of-age tales, it was past time for such a story told from a gay perspective.

If this is to be the first of many, call '"Love, Simon" a good start. Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel co-star, but like the coming-of-age tales we grew-up on, parents here remain secondary!

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