But more on that later, and if you haven’t seen it…fair warning: Here there be spoilers. Possibly.
In all honesty, this movie was delightful. I quite enjoyed it.
I am quite a sucker for a coming of age story. This one didn’t disappoint. I had warned the Silver Fox when he expressed interest in seeing it together that I was going to be a sappy, emotional mess – I cried at Rocky – but he still wanted to see it with me.
Instead of my regular Regal theater, though, he wanted to go to the Living Room theater, which is actually closer. Still, I considered making it a wedge issue so I could go cry into my popcorn alone, but let it lie.
Then there was timing. He has a busy day of appointments and it’s my day off. When I broached the subject of timing, he declared he was in as long as it started around noon.
So that happened.
There were struggles.
An ideal family.
Teen angst and awkwardness.
All wrapped around this so personal topic of coming out.
Having been down the path where Simon strode, I felt a connection to him right away. It was more personal by proxy than straight up vicarious. Unlike Call Me By Your Name, where I felt more like a voyeur, this movie pulled me into it. I felt those struggles, the awkwardness and the support.
And I felt the connection, the so tenuous bond between two gay teens as they tried to define themselves publicly by labeling what they wanted to do privately. It all started when a boy code named Blue posted an anonymous coming out letter to the high school’s message board.
Simon takes this opportunity to reach out, also anonymously via email.
Humorously, these email exchanges spark Simon’s inner Colombo and his days are suddenly filled with both his usual straight subterfuge and now his secret mission to figure out who Blue is based on any incidental clues he could discern from their emails. The faceless actor playing Blue morphs into whichever classmate Simon pegs as the potential Blue.
It’s optimistic agony to watch.
On the side is the accidental story of Martin, who happens upon Simon’s emails on a school computer after he forgets to log off.
“It’s cool, my brother’s gay”, Martin says before blackmailing Simon into manipulating one of his friends into going out with him.
Martin, you little piece of shit.
And Simon does it. Poor, terrified kid. To be threatened with outing in the crucible of high school…such heartlessness.
But, lessons are learned!
Don’t make assumptions.
Stand up for what’s right.
Be true to yourself.
Don’t sell out the people you love.
Of course, Simon has to lose it all before he learns these lessons.
Martin, an excruciatingly awkward personality…grating, as he is, courageously flames out with a grand gesture to his crush that turns into a very crushing, public failure.
Of course, to draw attention from his very public humiliation, he uncorageously posts all of Simon’s emails anonymously on the school’s message board.
Then, all the kids do what kids do and get selfish for a while, circling their wagons around Camp Me. Y’know, like American adults do…
Simon digs deep and finds his character, giving Jennifer Garner a beautiful Mom Moment. Nothing on Michael Stulbarg’s Dad Moment in CMBYN, but lovely in its own distinct way, Where Elio’s Dad is sensitive but stoic in Csll Me By Your Name, Simon’s Mom is more raw, you can feel her pain at the helplessness she experiences in protecting her son from this process.
After all is said and done, Simon, and the audience and the high school get the big, Blue reveal.
If this were my life, it would have been the epitome of the beautiful on the inside, fat and pimply on the outside – this is why I’m single – guy.
This is Hollyweird.
Simon gets his impossibly romantic albeit excruciating An Affair to Remember/Sleepless in Seattle moment to wrap up the storyline.
Blue turns out to be the black, Jewish – and gay, as it turns out – classmate: the triple threat guy that we all wanted him to be in the first place.
It was tres romantic.
Yes, I slow cried several times. Thank gawd…this face doesn’t need ugly crying in public! I’m single enough as it is.
Why was a movie I obviously enjoyed and connected to the worst movie?
A) because I said so.
B) the barely pubescent villain anonymously outs Simon after telling us he has a gay brother…what a pig-fucker.
C) Simon and Blue finally meet and (hopefully) consummate their virtual affair 17 days before graduation?
My inner romantic won’t allow for the reality that Simon and The Triple Threat will only have summer break plus 17 days before being torn apart by college.