Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Love, Simon 4K Ultra HD Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
From the producers of The Fault in Our Stars comes the relatable and heartfelt coming-of-age film Love, Simon. Everyone deserves a great love story, but for 17-year-old Simon, it’s a bit complicated. The gay teenager hasn’t come out yet, and doesn’t know the identity of the anonymous classmate he’s fallen for online. Resolving both issues will be a hilarious, scary, life-changing adventure. 

Film (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) explains that he has a pretty good life. He likes his younger sister, the budding chef. His mom (Jennifer Garner) and dad (Josh Duhamel) are loving parents who have made a loving home and are still very much in love with each other. Simon has a secret…..he is gay. It’s obvious that this isn’t a secret that would cause his family to disown him over. It’s just not something he’s ready to bring to light in a town with one openly gay student. 

Simon has been content keeping his feelings to himself until an anonymous message is posted for the town to see from another student. The student, who goes by the alias (and Gmail account name) Blue has told the town that he is gay. Simon contacts him, and tells Blue that he shares the same secret. Simon signs his email with the name Jacques.

Simon and Jacques email each other regularly. The friendship turns into something more and Simon falls in love with the young man he’s never met. He begins to guess who Blue could be. He guesses incorrectly more than once. After leaving his email open at school, a classmate learns that Simon is gay. He blackmails Simon for a while to keep his secret and eventually outs him to his classmates. This is too much for Blue to handle and Simon fears he’s lost his first love without ever knowing who he was.

Love, Simon had some very sweet moments to it. Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel were the parents I would think every gay teenage boy wishes they had. They are supportive. They give him his space. Dad cries when he realizes how long he made jokes about his son’s girlfriends not realizing his son liked boys. Never is there grieving for the loss of son they thought they had. They are not hurt. They love their son, through and through. His friends are supportive as well, and it’s painful to watch him go through rough spots without them after making bad decisions and pushing them away. This is the kind of film where you know they are all coming back together though. You spend most of this film thinking this one’s gotta have a happy ending.

I wonder how the film would be viewed by someone who had a family that wasn’t so understanding. Someone who wasn’t surrounded by that kind of love might be throwing things at the television because it’s not realistic. I would argue that much of what we enjoy isn’t realistic. I like romantic comedies even though I have never met a guy in a bar in real life that looks like Matthew McConaughey. In real life they are fat and are probably about to roofie you but that’s not what I want from my movie, I want the ideal. That’s Matthew McConaughey for my romantic comedies or Love, Simon for coming out stories.
Video (4 1/2 out of 5 stars) 
Love, Simon is presented on 4K UHD with a 2160p transfer in 2.39:1 ratio. This is a not the kind of film that is going to stretch the limits of the visuals, like Nick Robinson’s other film Jurassic World. As you would expect you’ll see a small upgrade in fine detail and clarity from Blu-ray to 4K but they’re still pretty similar and still equally rated. Details inside the school like lockers and bricks show the difference but you have to be looking hard and frankly, you’re missing the movie at that point. You shouldn’t be disappointed with either format. Colors are bright and accurate. The 4K college dance scene will give you a chance to see the colors pop off your screen if you really needed to. The darker scenes fair well and the you’re never missing out on any of the action. 
Audio (4 1/2 out of 5 stars) 
Love, Simon’s DTS – HD Master Audio 5.1 Mix is less than the expected 7.1 for a 4K release but still did the job well. Music is an important part of the film and those elements are well balanced with the dialogue. The crowds in the halls and audience in a theater has the appropriate volume and density. 
Extras (2 out of 5 stars) 
The 4K only contains a commentary track. The other extras below are found on the Blu-ray disc: 
  • Deleted Scenes (7:48) 
  • The Adaptation (10:41) – Greg Berlanti and others discuss adapting the film from the novel. 
  • The Squad (9:40) – A look at Simon and his buddies. 
  • #FirstLoveStory Contest Winner (1:34) – Greg Berlanti introduces the short film contest winner 
  • Dear Georgia (5:07) – Filming on location in Georgia. 
  • Dear Atlanta (2:06) - Another two minutes about Georgia. 
  • Commentary – Greg Berlanti, Isaac Klausner and Isaac Aptaker provide Audio Commentary 
  • Gallery (2:05) – Still with manual or auto advance and timing option. 
  • Theatrical Trailers 
Summary (3 1/2 out of 5 stars) 
Love, Simon is a teenage drama. The fact that Simon happens to be gay has a lot less to do with the story than I expected. Love is love and it should translate to anyone. It was sweet and very well acted by all involved. The 4K and the Blu-ray are both technically sound but light on supplemental features. That’s expected from a 4K but I thought I’d see more interviews from the cast. Maybe I’m just used to every Blu-ray having at least an hour’s worth of featurettes now a days. Recommended, nonetheless.

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