Greg Berlanti is more recently known as the shepherd of the superhero TV series The Flash and Supergirl, but his best-loved creation is Everwood, the earnest family drama set in Colorado starring Treat Williams, Emily VanCamp and Chris Pratt. Love, Simon, Berlanti's first film since the 2010 rom-com Life As We Know It, traffics in similar vibes: Good kids meaning well and fucking up anyway, idyllic setting (an affluent suburb in Georgia), swears saved up for only the most fevered moments.
Simon (Nick Robinson), owner of said good and idyllic life, is closeted. When a classmate comes out anonymously on his school's gossip blog, he strikes up a sweet correspondence. The school clown Martin (Logan Miller) sees the emails and uses them to blackmail Simon, who inadvertently creates a web of lies amongst his best friends in order to protect himself, while also trying to uncover the boy's identity.
Too much has been made about why we would need to worry about this well-off, white, cis man's coming-out journey when he's got a great family and understanding friends to support him—even Simon admits he doesn't know why he's holding onto his secret. But no matter the environmental circumstances, sometimes it's just hard. Casting Garner, one of our warmest actors, is Berlanti's ace—the snippet of her speech the trailer offers does not prepare one for its heart-burnishing, tear-uncorking entirety. (Duhamel gets a nice moment too.)
In terms of popular recent queer cinema, Love, Simon is not gritty like Moonlight or lush like Call Me By Your Name—where those films move within subtlety and nuance, this one just says what it's feeling, but that's a good thing. It's more like a John Hughes film than a Sundance circuit piece, squarely in the middle, just like Simon. That doesn't make it any less special.