Love, Simon is a movie made for and about the people who believe they are the essence of American normalcy, a movie that dutifully flatters them even as it works to expand who that normalcy includes.
Simon (stolid, ruminative Nick Robinson) trusts his crew with everything but his big secret: He's gay. A student calling himself "Blue" writes a post about being closeted and lonely on a gossip site dedicated to their school. Simon, thunderstruck, begins a correspondence with Blue. In brisk, gripping scenes they reveal everything to each other -- except their names. We watch Simon agonize waiting for an email back; we see Simon and Blue encourage each other to open up, to consider revealing themselves to each other -- maybe at the Halloween costume party? Meanwhile, weaselly thespian Martin (Logan Miller) has discovered Simon's secrets and has threatened to reveal Simon and Blue's emails to the school unless Simon helps the weasel win the heart of Abby (Alexandra Shipp), a dear friend of Simon's.
The cast and filmmakers stir these elements of secrets, lies, masks and matchmaking for all that they're worth, prizing telling details and piercing observation over broad comedy. Relationships that in the film's first moments seemed simple, copy-pasted from other movies, prove prickly and complex. It's a fleet and sweet comedy/romance/mystery where the stakes couldn't be higher -- it deals with the public exposure of teenagers' secrets! -- but also where every high school crisis or embarrassment passes with time because people, it turns out, are fundamentally decent. If what teens watch on their screens shapes future teen behavior, Love, Simon's utopian society is a gift to the teens of the future who may grow up on it.