Whether you’re teenaged, middle-aged or approaching a grand old age, one of the most memorable times in life is coming of age, and films have always found the way to portray this on screen.
The latest movie to shove us straight back into that high school locker is 'Love, Simon', the funny and heartfelt story of a 17-year-old coming to terms with his sexuality.
It’s already being hailed as a genre classic and everyone fell in love with the film, but what makes a good coming of age story?
Cast a likeable new star
He first made a splash in 2015 when he took on an Indominus rex as the elder brother in Jurassic World, and Nick Robinson will tell you taking on high school is no less terrifying as he plays the titular character in Love, Simon.
Unlike some coming-of-age movies, his family – Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel as his parents and sister Talitha Eliana Bateman – are actually pretty likeable, too, and Robinson plays the teen with just the right mix of vulnerability, awkwardness, humour and joy that it’s almost impossible not to warm to him.
Get a little angsty
Teenage years are hard – hormones are racing, pressures are mounting and things are getting pretty embarrassing, so there are a lot of highs and lows! Simon falls for another gay teen at his school online, but just as he’s experiencing all the excitement of first love, a bully gets hold of his messages and threatens to expose him, sending those angst levels through the roof.
Luckily, the film is adapted from a bestselling novel by Becky Albertalli, who was working as a psychologist at the time, so the emotions feel very real. Combined with producer Wyck Godfrey’s background working on teen tearjerker The Fault In Our Stars, the film hits the perfect balance between subtle internal conflict and full-on hormonal meltdown.
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Audience and critics are praising the film for its talented ensemble cast, its heartwarming premise and the fact that is the first mainstream gay teen romance movie. Besides the opinion you'll have after watching it, the film is a genuine groundbreaker.
You'll be laughing but you better bring some tissues too, because this film is going to have you in pieces thanks to its emotional rollercoaster. Here you can see some of the first exciting reactions...