In Love Again (Movie Thoughts: Love, Simon)

luvsimI remember reading the Becky Albertalli book ‘Simon Vs. the Homo Sapien Agenda’ years ago when it was first popular. I even think it was the very first gay YA book I read, and introduced me to the explosion of great YA novels. When I started seeing the trailers for ‘Love Simon,” I did not connect until later that this movie is an adaptation of that book. I should have, because I loved the book. I don’t remember too much about the minor details of the book, but the film stands on its own, and I think will connect with the younger generation. This is a movie that Mike Pence will not want you to see, and I hope it drives everyone to go see it.

It’s the movie I have most connected with since seeing ‘Call Me By Your Name’ late last year. This film has been perfectly described as a John Hughes kind of movie for this generation, and it’s apt. Greg Berlanti has directed a great film, written by Elizabeth Berger and Isaac Aptaker (who write for ‘This Is Us.’) It’s topical, it’s hilarious, it’s tender and touching, and even though it is a movie with a gay angle, it has universal appeal. i think a lot of people will be able to relate to the lead character, Simon, who otherwise leads a normal, well-adjusted perfect life – aside from having a big secret, and that he is gay. When a young man from his school anonymously confesses on the school blog that he is gay, this gives Simon an opportunity to communicate with him, and tell him that, he too, has the same secret.

Nick Robinson is swoon-worthy in the title role – and he is a great young actor, possessing just the right amount of vulnerability for the character. I suspect this will catapult him to stardom – boys and girls will fall in love with him. And they have cast the perfect people to be his parents – Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel, although it really makes me feel old that these age contemporaries of mine are playing parents of teenagers.

In the sneak preview screening I went to, the mostly young crowd screamed and applauded at all the right places, and it warmed my heart that everyone started applauding when the two male characters kissed for the first time. Of course, this is in Los Angeles, but I suspect people will react similarly everywhere. I cannot recommend this more highly.

They Tried To Make Him Go To Rehab (Movie Thoughts; Being Charlie)

large_large_suttu4kqxny9rcou4dgdn086nqw‘Being Charlie’ is Rob Reiner’s latest effort, from a script by his son Nick (who co wrote the script with Matt Elisofon) and a lot of critics are saying it is his best film in two decades. I like this film a lot, and I didn’t at first – how many times can you see a film about a rich white kid struggling with addiction and rehab?  There are parts of this film that exhausted me, and there’s a part of me that cannot understand how otherwise privileged kids turn to addiction. But of course I also know that addiction is a sickness, and needs to be treated. What makes this film good is its humor – the young Reiner found the right balance between cynical comedy and honest drama. This film is supposed to be based on his bouts with rehabilitation, so he knows what he is talking about (He apparently met his co-scriptwriter in rehab) And Nick Robinson, who plays Charlie has magnificent screen presence (I couldn’t take my eyes off him) and knows how to line between sweet, devious, manipulative, downtrodden. He will be a big star. I guess I am going to be dating myself here, but it was a tad disconcerting to see Cary Elwes here playing his father, since I had such a big crush on him, and now he is as middle aged as I am. But that’s just me, don’t let that hinder your enjoyment of the movie. Elwes is fine here, as is the rapper Common, who plays Charlie’s counselor.