It says something about a changing word when a coming-out-of-age story can be so relatively light and frivolous. Director Greg Berlanti takes on this adaptation of Becky Albertalli’s novel Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, about a closeted gay high-school student named Simon (Nick Robinson) who worries that he’s about to be outed when a classmate (Logan Miller) finds evidence of Simon's email correspondence with an anonymous guy. Screenwriters Elizabeth Berger and Isaac Aptaker offer a considerably more comedic take on the source material, aiming for the high school social-satire snark reminiscent of Mean Girls or Easy A. And it’s generally funny stuff—including a fantasy sequence in which Simon imagines the easier life ahead at “Liberal University”—even as it undercuts some of the genuine existential terror of a kid wondering how his friends and family might see him with a new label attached. There’s also less effective buildup in the mystery of “who is Simon’s online secret admirer,” so it’s a bit thin as a story of first love. It’ll have to suffice that an entertaining, upbeat gay spin on mainstream theatrical teen romance now gets a chance to exist at all.
Director: Greg Berlanti
Producer: Wyck Godfrey, Marty Bowen, Pouya Shahbazian, Isaac Klausner and Timothy Bourne
Cast: Nick Robinson, Josh Duhamel, Jennifer Garner, Tony Hale, Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp, Logan Miller, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Keiynan Lonsdale, Joey Pollari, Miles Heizer and Talitha Bateman