Movie Review: Love, Simon

I’m gonna be honest – against my better judgement, I kept my expectations way too high for this movie. Between my excitement over a book I had loved being adapted and how absolutely cute all the trailers looked, I definitely bought into the hype. I thought going in that I’d probably be at least a little disappointed – but I didn’t feel disappointed at all.

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Author Becky Albertelli holding her book Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda, which the movie Love, Simon is based off of

First of all, this movie is visually beautifully. It’s bright and light and happy looking, and the pop of color and beautiful wide shots help ease the tension as the story goes on.

Secondly, this movie delivers when it comes to both romance and comedy, which is good considering it’s a rom-com. Watching Simon fall in love with every guy he even slightly suspects is gay is equal parts funny, sweet, and relatable to most shy kids who had a crush in high school. The movie does a good job of poking fun at the awkward way he carries himself without feeling like it’s making fun of him.

The movie also handles it’s serious parts just as well. As the plot pushes forwards and Simon’s life starts to spin out of control, the movie does an excellent job of touching on *why* he’s as upset as he is. The jokes take a backseat and something amazing happens – what started off as a cute and refreshing take on teen love stories turns into a well handled and serious – though never preachy – story about what it’s really like to be outed. Small but cutting jokes from family members, out and out bullying at school, the pressure to come out before you’re ready all builds realistically towards Simon’s anxieties about coming out. And of course as Simon so succinctly puts it early on: sometimes you just want to hang onto who you’ve always been seen as.

I’ve only seen Nick Robertson in one thing (in Jurassic World to be exact) so I didn’t really have an opinion on him going in but he was excellent. During a confrontation between him and the guy that outs him, he gives it his all. There was no delicate single tear going on here – he was red faced and shaking, getting up in people’s faces and then collapsing in on himself, and it was fascinating and heartbreaking to watch.

But the movie ends on a happy note, like most good romantic comedies do. The romance builds to a typically cheesy and sweet rom-com ending made triumphant because it’s for such an atypical story. Simon gets to heal, gets the guy – and no spoilers but he gets a really fantastic guy – and gets a life that is different than before, but infinitely better.

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Now In Theaters: War for the Planet of the Apes

War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)

Dir. Matt Reeves

Starring Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn

The eagerly anticipated threequel in the Planet of the Apes saga does not disappoint – if you know what it is you’re watching.

Backed by a haunting score that lingers long after the movie is over, the film chronicles Cesar’s navigation of a devastating war between apes and humans.  After a disturbing attack by the humans, Cesar leaves his people to find the Colonel, played by Woody Harrelson, to demand vengeance. Aided by old friends Maurice, Rocket, and Luca, Cesar finds himself haunted by the violence around him as well as his own moral failings.

The film focuses then not on violence, but on the effects of war. The story takes viewers through the war-ravaged countryside as the characters, portrayed brilliantly by their actors, attempt to cope with what has happened to them. As the film goes on, the story lingers on scenes where characters simply talk to each other. Sometimes about the plot, but oftentimes about their past traumas and the ways they deal with their own history.

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The performance given by Andy Serkis (shown before CGI effects are added on the left) as Cesar is stunning as he brings a quiet but tired anger to a character made entirely of CGI effects. His performance isn’t the only standout; Woody Harrelson plays a terrifying but sympathetic villain as the Colonel, and newcomer Amiah Miller packs clarity and wisdom into Nova, a mute human girl taken in by the group.

Of course, there is fighting and some pretty awesome explosions at the end in the final battle, but even then, the violence is grounded in the anger, empathy, and history of the characters. Even the climactic scene involves not violence, but a scene between two characters connecting.  And admittedly, if what you’re buckling in for is something more lighthearted, the movie will drag a bit as Cesar and his group interact slowly with every plot point. But if you’re looking for poignancy, War for the Planet of the Apes has this in spades.

(Note that the library does not have this movie available to check out as it is still in theaters. It is currently on order). 

written by: kassie marie

 

Now In Theaters: Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman (2017)

Director: Patty Jenkins

Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright

If you grew up in the 70s, you may have watched Wonder Woman the TV series. You know, Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman? Cool arm bracelets that deflect bullets? Golden lasso which can submit any human to tell the complete truth? I watched the TV series in my youth, and LOVED it. I was not convinced this film would do the TV series justice, but it has. Rest easy Lynda Carter fans, the original Wonder Woman went to the Wonder Woman(2017) premiere, and gave the film (and star) her own stamp of approval.

Wonder Woman 2017 - Hollywood Premiere
Star Gal Gadot, Director Patty Jenkins and original Wonder Woman Lynda Carter at the Wonder Woman (2017) Hollywood Premiere – May 2017.

Gal Gadot stars as Amazon Princess Diana (a.k.a. Wonder Woman) in this modern reboot, and she really brings it to the big screen. We get a chance to learn about the origin of Wonder Woman, just in case you are not a comic book reader. The film opens in modern day settings, with Diana receiving a special package at work. She starts to reminisce about her childhood, and the island she grew up. We watch as Diana is learning the truth of who she is, and what she is capable of. With the training, and mentoring of her mom and aunt, she is now ready to set out to fulfill her purpose.

Chris Pine stars as American pilot Steve Trevor, who is on a very important mission when he crashes on Diana’s island. Steve and Diana become friends and allies (and maybe more?). The film is a visual feast for the eyes, so I urge you to catch it on the big screen. At 2 hours and 21 minutes, it may seem long, but it is fast paced and holds your attention. The fight and battle scenes are griping, every frame a cinematic work of art. I am hoping the cinematographer (Matthew Jensen) gets at least an Oscar nomination.

 

Supporting cast members Robin Wright (as Aunt Antiope), and Connie Nielsen as Hippolyta (Diana’s Mom), are strong, smart, and give Diana everything she needs to make it on her own . The training scenes are amazing. Nothing falls flat in this film, from the soundtrack, to the costumes, to all the brilliant performances, you will not be disappointed. Brava to director Patty Jenkins.

written by: Sandie Neri