Posts Tagged ‘Nick Robinson’

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This month’s book club pick is Becky Albertalli‘s 2015 novel Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda. A film adaptation titled Love, Simon directed by Greg Berlanti opened in US cinemas March 16th. It opens in cinemas here in New Zealand March 29th but I saw an advance screening yesterday afternoon.

Nick Robinson (The Kings of SummerJurassic World, 5th Wave) portrays Simon Spier, an average 17-year-old Atlanta high school senior.

On the surface life is good for Simon. He lives in a nice suburban home. His high-school sweetheart parents (Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel) are still happily married. He has a good relationship with his little sister Nora (Talitha Bateman, who worked with Robinson on The 5th Wave), and has a good group of friends.

Simon has one secret – he is gay.

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Simon (Nick Robinson), Nora (Talitha Bateman), Emily (Jennifer Garner), Jack (Josh Duhamel)

When Simon learns that a fellow student, using the pseudonym Blue, has posted anonymously on a school blog that he is gay, he immediately begins exchanging anonymous emails with Blue.

The film has Nick’s soccer teammate Bram (The Legends of TomorrowThe Flash‘s Keiynan Lonsdale), theatre kid Cal (13 Reasons Why‘s Miles Heizer) and Waffle House waiter Lyle (Joey Pollari) each take turns voicing Blue’s emails.  This is a interesting technique to cover the mystery of who Blue is.

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Nick Robinson (Simon)

Simon’s secret is revealed when he leaves his Gmail account signed in on a school library computer and classmate Martin (Logan Miller) reads one of his emails. Martin uses the secret emails as leverage to blackmail Simon into helping him get a date with Simon’s friend Abby (X-Men Apocalypse‘s Alexandra Shipp).

He is scared that if Martin outs him he will lose Blue, so Simon starts lying and manipulating his friends to help Martin woo Abby. This includes convincing his best friends Leah (13 Reasons Why‘s Katherine Langford) and Nick (Spider-Man: Homecoming‘s Jorge Lendeborg Jr.) to date when he learns Nick has a crush on Abby.

This sets up the dramatic tension and conflict for the film.

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Nick (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.), Leah (Katherine Langford), Abby (Alexandra Shipp), Simon (Nick Robinson)

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Nick (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.), Abby (Alexandra Shipp), Leah (Katherine Langford), Simon (Nick Robinson), Garrrett (Drew Starkey, obscured), Bram (Keiynan Lonsdale)

As it is marketed as a romantic coming-of-age teen comedy there are plenty of laughs with the supporting characters. Natasha Rothwell (Saturday Night Live writer) is brilliant and hilarious as the scene-stealing teacher directing the school production of ‘Cabaret’, which Simon, Abby and Martin are in. Tony Hale (Arrested DevelopmentVeep) also provides plenty of comedy as the awkward, cringey Vice Principal trying to be hip with his students. There is also a very funny montage where his heterosexual friends have to come out as straight to their parents.

The film has an amazing soundtrack featuring music from the The Bleachers, Troye Sivan, Whitney Houston, Jackson 5.

Hopefully Love, Simon will pave the way for more LGBTQ+ representation in accessible, major studio-produced cinema.

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This month’s book club pick is Rick Yancey‘s 2013 post-apocalyptic alien invasion novel The 5th Wave. A film adaptation directed by J Blakeson (The Disappearance of Alice Creed) was released in January this year.

Chloë Grace Moretz (Kick-Ass, HugoIf I Stay) leads the cast as Cassie. Chloe is an excellent young actress and while she delivers a capable performance this is not her best work. I feel that she was not given an opportunity to explore her character in depth.

The script was penned by Susannah Grant (Pocahontas, Erin Brockovich, Charlotte’s Web), Academy Award Winner Akiva Goldsman (A Beautiful Mind) and Jeff Pinkner (The Amazing Spider-Man 2, TV Series Lost and Fringe).

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Cassie (Chloë Grace Moretz)

Nick Robinson (The Kings of Summer, Jurassic World) and relative newcomer Alex Roe play Cassie’s two potential love interests Ben and Evan.

In the book Ben is the high school crush that does not even notice Cassie exists. In the film they share a smile at a party and know of each other. Robinson and Roe are both likeable in their roles but they don’t do much to progress the story.

Nick Robinson as Ben

Ben (Nick Robinson)

Alex Roe as Evan and Chloë Grace Moretz as Cassie

Evan (Alex Roe) and Cassie (Chloë Grace Moretz)

Another change – in the book the character of Sergeant Reznik is male. In the film the characters of Dr Pam and Reznik are merged together and Maria Bello portrays Reznik. This change is to add another adult female character to the mix – it could have worked but the character of Reznik was left out of most of the crucial action and was not fully developed as a character.

Liev Schreiber brings a sense of credibility and seriousness to the film as Colonel Vosch. Actors Ron Livingston and Maggie Siff portray Cassie’s parents but both are dispatched quickly so Cassie can continue her journey alone.

Maria Bello as Sergeant Reznik

Sergeant Reznik (Maria Bello)

Colonel Vosch (Liev Schreiber) and Ben (Nick Robinson)

Colonel Vosch (Liev Schreiber) and Ben (Nick Robinson)

The production design is excellent but at times the film feels like it is too brightly lit for a post-apocalyptic world. This was a deliberate decision by the filmmakers as the ‘others’ (aliens) do not wish to destroy the world just wipe out mankind. The flawless make up and perfect hair amongst the chaos is not realistic and also lets down the look of the film.

Those who have read the book will likely be interested in seeing the film adaptation otherwise to general audiences the film just gets swept up amongst a long line of more successful dystopian YA films.

It is unlikely that Sony Pictures will option the next film in the series.

I won a copy of The 5th Wave on DVD through cammansel.com. Thanks Cam!