Love, Simon

Movie review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
Love, Simon Movie Poster Image
Affecting, lovable romcom about gay teen has a little edge.
  • PG-13
  • 2018
  • 109 minutes
 Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 31 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 97 reviews

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Much like the book it's based on, the movie's messages are about acceptance, inclusion, remaining true to yourself, and treating others with care and kindness. Several incidents of homophobia are used to teach lessons about atonement and empathy. Strong family bonds play a crucial role. Courage and integrity are themes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Simon is a relatable "everyguy": He's accepted and liked by other students, and his family members (including a younger sister) are kind and supportive. He does well in school, is easy to live with, and doesn't do drugs, and though he makes mistakes, he atones for them and attempts to do better -- many parents will likely consider him a positive role model for teens. Most of the other characters aren't as defined and won't make much of a mark. 

Violence

No physical violence, but two male students mime anal sex on a cafeteria table while asking whether Simon likes it and call other students "fruity" and "f-g." A boy blackmails Simon to help him get time with one of his female friends, which may edge closer to exploitation than parents would like (he doesn't get anywhere and doesn't attempt to force himself on her). 

Sex

Characters talk about sex, especially in one scene where a nervous, inexperienced teen talks about "how dark it is" and "how slippery everything gets"; only a few kisses in the film, both same- and opposite-sex. Characters aren't as sex-obsessed as they occasionally are in teen movies; focus is more on romance and love. One reference to "H.J.s," and a father refers to a teen masturbating and suggests a Grindr account. 

Language

Occasional cursing includes one use of "f--k," plus "dumbass," "s--t," "hell," "goddamn," and "a--hole." Some homophobic language: "fruity," "f-g," "butt sex," and a boy is called "she" insultingly (he responds with a joke about his "micropenis" that he compares to a "baby carrot").

Consumerism

Apple products are frequently visible: iPhone, a Mac laptop.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Teens drink out of red Solo cups at a party and play beer pong. Simon arrives home drunk; his parents realize it and decide to let it pass, since he had a sober friend drive him home and made it back by curfew. Another boy at a party throws up. Joke about huffing paint. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Love, Simon is a dramedy based on the YA novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. It focuses on a high school senior (Nick Robinson) who finds the confidence to come out after corresponding with an anonymous friend online. It's not as edgy as many teen movies, but there's still some iffy stuff. Two homophobic teens tease and prank Simon and another gay student, calling them "f-g," "fruity," and "she." And in the school cafeteria, they climb on a table and mime anal sex. Administrators and fellow students alike condemn the display and support Simon and the other student, ultimately cheering when two gay students kiss (there's other kissing, too). Teens drink beer and play drinking games at a party; one comes home drunk, and his parents decide not to do anything because he didn't drive drunk and came home by curfew. One joke refers to huffing paint, others to masturbation, "H.J.s," and Grindr. But overall, sex is referred to in not-very-graphic terms. A boy blackmails Simon to get time with Simon's cute female friend, and Simon goes along with it; he later atones, but the friend rightfully feels exploited. Language includes one use of "f--k," plus "dumbass," "s--t," "goddamn," and "a--hole." All of this said, the movie is positive and affirming, with messages of courage, integrity, and empathy. Characters are accepting of all of their friends' and family members' traits, including being gay, and are loving and supportive. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byTim M. March 17, 2018

Great Movie for High Schoolers!

The movie is funny, as appropriate as this topic can be, and very touching. It is a very necessary film at this time in our society. It shows students having... Continue reading
Adult Written byJohn Daryl A. March 11, 2018

Soul-Touching

It was so overwhelming. Made me cry for several times while watching. It is a must see movie! Bring your friends and family! ❤️
Teen, 14 years old Written bycatk2 March 11, 2018

Heartwarming and inspiring

This film has some sexual jokes and some profanity, but not so obviously that a kid who doesn’t know what they are will notice. This movie brings up important c... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byMentonSER March 11, 2018

This is just the kind of movie we need in these times.

So this is probably one of the best movies so far this year. It's symbolic and inspiring. Simon is just a teen trying to get by and this movie represents t... Continue reading

What's the story?

LOVE, SIMON's Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) has a great life. He loves his family, he has friends, and he's doing well in school. There's just one big secret he's been keeping for a while: He's gay, and he's not sure whether he wants everyone to know. But when another boy comes out anonymously on the school's social media page, Simon makes a new friend who gives him the confidence to accept who he really is. Trouble looms, however, when Martin (Logan Miller), an abrasive fellow cast member in the school's production of Cabaret, gets hold of Simon's private emails and threatens to post them on the school's page if Simon doesn't convince his friend Abby (Alexandra Shipp) to hang out with Martin. Simon's secret is leaking out, and he's afraid. Can the people who are close to him love him just the way he is? And will he ever meet his pen-friend in person and find true love at last? 

Is it any good?

Tender, sweet, and affecting, this is the mainstream romcom that gay teens might not have even known they needed. But when they watch it, they'll find themselves deeply reflected. Aside from art-house movies, which don't play in many of the places lots of young people live, gay teens aren't the stars of movies. They may be the wacky, bitchy best friends (who never get a love interest) or only recognizable via subtext, in longing glances, pregnant pauses, or dialogue that circles around something but doesn't quite get there. In Love, Simon, Simon's gayness is front and center, right in the first lines of the movie's dialogue. But the conflict isn't "how will this poor tortured homosexual live his poor tortured life?," it's whether Simon can accept himself and move confidently into his adult life as a gay man.

Spoiler alert: He does, and he's accepted by his circle of photogenic friends and kind, supportive parents -- heck, even the whole dang school, which gathers (unrealistically) to clap when Simon (further spoiler alert!) gets the guy. This movie isn't particularly quirky or deep; it's predictable, the characters are fairly thinly drawn, and both cheese and corn make their presence known. (Were you wondering whether this movie has both a huge teen house party and a big emotional speech at a football game? Yup!) But this is the movie a gay teen could watch with the whole family -- Grandma and Grandpa, too -- and not be embarrassed. And everyone in the room would be captivated by the appealing actors, the relatable romance and teen angst, and the gentle messages about kindness, acceptance, and love.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Love, Simon depicts teens. Are the characters and their decisions realistic? What about the consequences of those decisions?

  • How does Simon demonstrate courage and integrity? Why are those important character strengths?

  • How does the movie depict bullying? What should teens do if that happens to them? What should they do if they see it happening to someone else?

  • How does the movie portray drinking and drug use? Are they glamorized? If you've read the book, how does the movie's take on these subjects compare?

  • If you've read the book its based on, is Love, Simon a successful adaptation? What changes did the filmmakers make, and do you understand why they made them? What parts of the movie captured the book best, and what parts of the book did you miss not seeing in the movie?

Movie details

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