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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 16, 2018 - Volume 46 Issue 11
Movie Reviews
Arts & Entertainment
ALL STORIES
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Matter-of-fact Simon easy to love
by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

LOVE, SIMON
Now playing


Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) is gay. The popular 17-year-old hasnt come out to anyone, yet. Hes not really worried what his best friends Leah (Katherine Langford) and Abby (Alexandra Shipp) will think; they will definitely support him. Same with his mother Emily (Jennifer Garner) and little sister Nora (Talitha Bateman); the two of them as progressively open-minded as they come. Heck, even his ultra-masculine father Jack (Josh Duhamel) will likely end up in his sons corner once the shock wears off, so in reality theres no reason for the teen not to be honest with everyone and let them know whats going on.

But Simon cant find the words to come out. Instead, hes struck up an anonymous online friendship with a fellow classmate, the two of them sharing intimate secrets about how theyre struggling with their sexuality, what attracts them in another guy and what their dreams and aspirations are for their lives once they leave high school. One problem. Outsider Martin (Logan Miller), a stereotypically needy geek with few friends, has managed to read and copy all of the pairs emails and instant messages. Hes going to release them on the Internet if Simon doesnt let him into his friend group. Worse, he wants him to set him up on a date with Abby even though shes got eyes for Nick (Jorge Lendeborg, Jr.), a star football player who also has the hots for her as well. Its a mess, and Simon doesnt know what to do, the young man living a lie for so long hes practically forgotten what the truth still is.

Based on the best-selling book Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, director Greg Berlanti paints an appealing, life-affirming picture of friendship and family with the appealing coming out comedy-drama Love, Simon. Working from a pleasantly energetic script written by This Is Us impresarios Elizabeth Berger and Isaac Aptaker, Berlanti showcases a light, easygoing touch with the material thats far different than the in-your-face overwrought comedic and dramatic hijinks of his previous theatrical endeavors Life as We Know It and The Broken Hearts Club. This helps give the movie a deft, observational authenticity thats charming, making the routine over-familiarity of the central plot itself much easier to tolerate than it otherwise might have been.

Which is a good thing, because the main thrust of the narrative is a bit on the obnoxiously melodramatic side. The mystery about who Simons online crush is just isnt interesting, while the blackmail subplot involving Martin goes uncomfortably off the rails the longer the film is forced to deal with it. But, somewhat strangely, considering how important these two plot threads happen to be, these weaknesses dont significantly dilute the enjoyment factor. Berlanti manages to balance the weaker pieces of the narrative against the core tale of friendship, family and honesty with surprising aplomb, never allowing any of the subplots to overshadow those core thematic elements at any point.

Its that emphasis on the friendship between Simon, Emily, Nora and Nick that makes all of this work as well as it does. Theyre young people living in the now. Ideas of sexuality, race and gender, they mean precious little. Its who the person is that counts, the legitimacy of their words that matters most, and when that vanishes thats when trust begins to fade and uncertainty rears its ugly head. Simons subterfuge in regards to being gay isnt the issue, its the fact he allows someone else to manipulate him against his friends that is where the trouble lies, and watching this quartet having to navigate through all of the varying emotions that are born from this deception is what gives the story its dramatic urgency and zeal.

Even in todays open-minded high school world, there is still a layer of fantasy to this thats a little far-fetched, the universal social progressiveness of the entire student body not entirely realistic. But after decades upon decades of stories where the opposite wasnt just true but also infuriatingly the norm, its nice to see one where the color of ones skin or the gender of who a person is attracted to is a superfluous thing almost no one cares about whatsoever. Its refreshing, and even if it isnt entirely realistic that does not make the depiction any less wonderful.

Granted, it also makes Simons issues coming out even more unbelievable at various times. If everyone at his school could care less about any single persons sexuality (save for the requisite nincompoops who dont actually believe anything theyre saying; theyre just class clowns who want to make certain theyre the center of attention at all times and no one else upstages them), if his family is going to be loving and supportive right from the moment he lets them know what is going on, then any dramatic weight that the young mans admission of his sexuality might normally provoke is diluted because of this. There is no real conflict, no true emotional imperative, and thus the drama normally associated with coming out is muted in a way thats mildly mundane.

Not to downplay Simons decision or the pressure he is feeling as he figures out the best way to tell those he cares about what is going on with him and why hes been such an emotional wreck of late. Coming out is an individual tale that is unique to every single person, and the character in this story is no different. The threat of having someone else take that choice away from them, that they might announce a thing to the world that hes not ready to voice himself, that is something terrible and emotionally catastrophic, so on that front it is easy to understand why Simon makes many of the decisions that he does as they pertain to Martins blackmail of him.

All of the young actors are superb, Robinson, Langford and Shipp in particular. They have an easy, naturalistic chemistry that is winning, watching them together about as pure a joy as any Ive had sitting in a theatre so far this year. For Robinson, as good as he has been in the past in films as diverse as The Kings of Summer, Jurassic World and Everything, Everything, this is a star-making turn that should likely make him instantaneously a teen and young adult favorite. The complex emotional urgency he brings to his performance is winning, and as such spending time with Simon as he tries to figure out his next steps is a source of unabashed delight.

Thinking about Love, Simon, even the portions of it that dont necessarily work nearly as well for me as other aspects do, cant help but make me smile. Thanks to a dynamic, emotionally astute script from Berger and Aptaker, that coupled with Berlantis unobtrusive direction helps make this movie an agreeable revelation I likely couldnt have resisted even if I had wanted to. This coming of age story of friendship, family, sexuality and romance is a merry one, and while its insights might not be new, the fact theyre so matter-of-fact certainly is.


Suitably thrilling Tomb Raider changes the game
by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

TOMB RAIDER
Now playing


It's been seven years since businessman, philanthropist and archeology enthusiast Lord Richard Croft (Dominic West) mysteriously disappeared. In all that time his headstrong daughter Lara (Alicia Vikander) has stubbornly refused to believe he was dead. After discovering he had left her clues only she would be able to decipher, the young woman learns he went off to hunt for a mysterious island somewhere off the coast of Japan. With only his notebook to give her hints on where to search, and after hiring the son, Lu Ren (Daniel Wu), of a boat captain who originally took her dad on his ill-fated journey, Lara charts a similar course into the unknown.

What the pair discovers goes far beyond anything they could have imagined. For seven years, psychopathic madman Mathias Vogel (Walton Goggins) has been stranded on an island searching for the tomb of a mythical priestess who was believed to have the power over life and death. It was this discovery Lord Croft was desperately trying to stop, the not-so-amateur adventurer certain that if this crypt was opened the results would be globally catastrophic. Now it's up to his daughter to finish what he started, Lara determined to make certain that Vogel pays for his crimes and the secrets hidden inside this tomb remain undiscovered.

Movies based on video games haven't exactly had the best track record. Great directors like Mike Newell (Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time) and Justin Kurzel (Assassin's Creed) gave it their best shot yet still failed to deliver anything worthwhile, while the less said about adaptations like Doom, Hitman, Max Payne, Street Fighter, Warcraft, Need for Speed, Super Mario Bros., Wing Commander and so many others the better. The only truly successful effort was the Resident Evil franchise, which spawned six features (last year's Resident Evil: The Final Chapter being the last one), director Paul W.S. Anderson's 2002 first film arguably the most enjoyable of the set.

Not that there isn't something moderately positive that could be said about 2001's Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and its 2003 sequel Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, both starring Angelina Jolie as the titular heroine. The first one, while a critical failure, proved to be something of a box office surprise while it also cemented Jolie's status as a global superstar. The follow-up, however, did not meet with the same fate. While moderately better received by critics, it was also clear audiences had felt burned enough by the initial entry in the erstwhile franchise they had no intention to come back for seconds. It seemed like this was the end of the line for Lara Croft as far as her cinematic adventures were concerned, and considering no other video game adaption outside of Resident Evil was making any sort of profit it was doubtful a Hollywood studio was going to take another chance on the character anytime soon.

Until now. Cutting itself off from the Jolie efforts entirely, using the latest, incredibly popular video game as its chief inspiration, Norwegian director Roar Uthaug's Tomb Raider takes Lara Croft back to her roots, showcasing an energetic, emotionally unstable yet incredibly intelligent firebrand just beginning to find her way in the world after unspeakable tragedy has left her feeling lost and alone. While screenwriters Geneva Robertson-Dworet and Alastair Siddons (Trespass Against Us) hardly reinvents the archeological adventurous wheel, cribbing freely from Raiders of the Lost Ark whenever and wherever it can, they've still managed to craft an engaging yarn that puts more emphasis on its characters than it does on mindless action set pieces that do little to move the story forward. This is the first video game adaptation that proves to be worth watching start to finish, and while the bar for these sorts of films has been undeniably low from a historical perspective, that doesn't make Tomb Raider any less entertaining.

Part of me isn't surprised by this. Uthaug has a consistent track record of taking tired, overwrought genre entries and making something sensational out of them. His 2006 horror opus Cold Prey about a group of young snowboarders stranded at a secluded ski chalet has slowly spent the last decade becoming something of an under the radar slasher classic, while the director's 2015 disaster epic The Wave was a legitimate Oscar contender after Norway submitted it as the country's Best Foreign Language Film entry. The reason those features worked so well is that Uthaug put the emphasis on the characters first and crafting a compellingly authentic atmosphere for them to live in second while leaving the expected genre tropes of both in a distant third. He knew that to ratchet up tension and suspense one actually had to care about the individuals fighting for their lives, and while he had a noticeable flair for staging action it was also just as evident he wasn't going to throw in some random jolt of adrenaline just because.

This is a director who has made his career trusting his audience, and it is that sort of touch he brings to this. There aren't any real surprises, no real shocks as they pertain to Lara's journey or the discoveries she is going to make while she is on it. But Robertson-Dworet and Siddons keep things moving at a crisp pace, constructing believable characters in relatively brief brushstrokes most of whom are complicated enough to stay interesting for all of the story's 118 minutes. As for Uthaug, much like he did with Cold Prey, he doesn't just jump right in as far as the death-defying craziness is concerned. While he does stage a couple of brief sequences of action, they're based in character, each helping to define Lara as she takes her first steps into the unknown. The first massive set piece doesn't happen until almost the halfway point, and as crazy as it is Uthaug never loses sight of the fact that whatever happens has to affect his heroine on an emotional level otherwise there's no point for any of these theatrics to exist.

It's still pretty thin from a narrative standpoint, and as terrifying as Goggins is Vogel still isn't the towering villain a film like this needs in order to be truly memorable. I also find it interesting that Uthaug and the screenwriters choose to put so much emotional emphasis on a scene where Lara is forced to defend herself in a way that results in the loss of life, her clearly distraught reaction to what she's done obviously difficult for the young woman to deal with. But moments later she's going after Vogel's henchman with a bow and arrow as if she's a seasoned soldier who has spent years on the battlefield, this sudden ease with which she is able to use lethal force not entirely convincing.

Who am I kidding? Tomb Raider is a total kick in the pants and I had a terrific time watching it. As strong as Jolie might have been as the character previously, she was never given the same freedom to evolve and emote as Vikander has been granted, and to say The Danish Girl Oscar-winner makes the most of the situation would be a decided understatement. She thrives as Lara Croft, constructing a three-dimensional adventurer who is just as apt to use her brain as she is her brawn, Uthaug refreshingly giving the actress the freedom to make the character her own. This is a good movie. Suffice it to say I honestly can't wait to see it again. Here's hoping general audiences end up feeling the same.


Visceral Entebbe a frustratingly forgettable terrorism procedural
by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

7 DAYS IN ENTEBBE
Now playing


It is July, 1976. An Air France flight traveling from Tel Aviv to Paris is hijacked by four armed terrorists. Two of these individuals are Palestinians. The duo in charge are a pair of left-wing German radicals, Wilfried Böse (Daniel Brühl) and Brigitte Kuhlmann (Rosamund Pike). Taking the plane to Entebbe, Uganda, they are certain the Israelis will be forced to negotiate with kidnappers for the first time in their country's short history, all involved with the plot feeling that Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (Lior Ashkenazi) will be unlikely to send troops onto African soil in order to rescue the hostages.

Yet, urged on by his far more militant Defense Minister Shimon Peres (Eddie Marsan), while Rabin would like to find a nonviolent solution to this problem, he's well aware a military strike might be the only way to ensure the safe return of the majority of the hostages. A small group of elite Special Forces operatives are tasked with the planning, training and potential execution of a daring raid on the Entebbe airport. With only a few days to make a decision, the Israelis meticulously explore all options available to them, while in Uganda both Böse and Kuhlmann slowly realize maybe their revolutionary principles aren't as hard and as fast as they once thought they were.

Inspired by actual events, the docudrama 7 Days in Entebbe never quite knows what it wants to be. At times an eviscerating military procedural, at others a dialogue-driven debate arguing the merits and the shortcomings of diplomatic outreach as it pertains to acts of terror, and in subsequent moments an examination of the radical mindset as the realities of violent intervention begin to sink in, the movie is so all over the map from emotional and narrative standpoints I found it impossible to care about anything that was happening. Viscerally directed by José Padilha, unfortunately no amount of visual razzle-dazzle is enough to gloss over the plot's more obnoxiously muddled shortcomings, any insights to be found watching the movie mostly of the didactically obvious variety.

Which is too bad, because few filmmakers have the ability to craft scenes of unsettling tension with the delicate ease and the confident precision of Padilha. Both his Elite Squad and Elite Squad: The Enemy Within are kinetic thrillers that are as smart as they are invigorating, each building in electrifying power as they steamroll to their shatteringly chaotic conclusions. Heck, even the director's 2014 remake of RoboCop, as misguided as it might have been, still featured a handful of breathless action sequences that crackled with eye-popping electricity, making it less of a unexceptional disaster than it otherwise might have been.

Padilha manages something similar here, his handling of the initial hijacking as well as his staging of the climactic Israeli assault at a remote rundown terminal located at the Entebbe airport both incredible. But it's the stuff that happens in-between these moments, the one-dimensional characterizations and the ponderous sermonizing, that grows increasingly tiresome. It's a heavy-handed dirge of incomplete ideas that never coalesce into anything substantive. Böse and Kuhlmann debate the merits of what it is they are a part of, realizing only too late that Germans taking Jews hostage three decades removed from the end of WWII likely won't go over well with much of the world. Rabin and Peres banter back and forth about the merits of military action against the terrorists, the former trying to get others to understand why he's resistant to use force while the latter plots with quietly intense Machiavellian precision in hopes of changing his mind. Then there is a third subplot involving murderous Ugandan dictator Idi Amin (a sensationally larger-than-life Nonso Anozie) that's frustratingly undernourished, this important piece of the puzzle not really fitting into place as comfortably or as intriguingly as it by all accounts should.

All of this handicaps the actors to such a degree only a precious few of them are able to rise above the material. Along with the aforementioned Anozie, Gone Girl Oscar-nominee Pike is excellent, adding little idiosyncratic insights into her character I felt Gregory Burke's ('71) screenplay barely even hinted at. She's got an outstanding moment on a payphone that sent my heart right into my throat, the lump that grew there so massive I was practically sobbing by the time the scene came to an end. Israeli superstar Ashkenazi, so terrific in films as diverse as Footnote, Big Bad Wolves and Late Marriage, is also very good, and if someone ever decides to make a more in-depth biopic about Rabin, here's my vote for the actor to return in the role. Best of all is Denis Ménochet as Air France flight engineer Jacques Le Moine, the selfless humanity he brings to the story consistently invigorating.

If only Burke's script could have been allowed more room to breathe and blossom. Between the terrorists, the politicians, the military and the Ugandans, there's so much going on covering it all in any sort of multidimensional detail proves to be hopeless. While it's easy to understand why the filmmakers decided against a more streamlined approach, in attempting to view this event from every single angle all at once none of them resonate in a fashion that satisfies. I just couldn't connect emotionally to anything that was happening, and as marvelous as it all might look and sound, 7 Days in Entebbe in the end proves to be a forgettable terrorism procedural I'd rather not have seen.


Giving it a think: Director Greg Berlanti and stars Nick Robinson and Alexandra Shipp on sharing Love, Simon with the world
by Sara Michelle Fetters - SGN A&E Writer

LOVE, SIMON
Now playing


Love, Simon is a high school-set tale of friendship, romance and sexuality made for the here and now. Based on the best-selling book Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, the movie is the story of Simon Spier (Nick Robinson), a popular 17-year-old kid with loving parents, an adoring sister and friends who would do anything for him. He's also gay, and he's fearful of coming out even if he's relatively positive all who care most about him would be supportive if he did so.

All the same, Simon strikes up an anonymous friendship with a fellow student from his school and in the process thinks he's falling in love even though he has no idea who this person actually is. During his quest to discover his cybernetic pen pal's identity, another one of his classmates secretly makes copies of all of the pairs emails and instant messages, threatening to release them to the student body if Simon doesn't help him in his own quest to find a girlfriend. Not sure what to do, Simon compromises his friendships in order to keep his secret from going public, in the process learning that if he can't be honest with himself, he can't really expect others to be honest with him in return.

Robinson, a Seattle native who made his first notable impression in The Kings of Summer before moving on to be chased by a Tyrannosaurus Rex in Jurassic World, arrived in town for a brief press tour to speak about Love, Simon. He was joined by the film's director Greg Berlanti (Life as We Know It, The Broken Hearts Club) along with fellow rising star Alexandra Shipp (X-Men: Apocalypse, Tragedy Girls). I had the pleasure to sit down with the three of them in a suite overlooking the city at the top of the newly built Amil Arc apartments. Here are some of the highlights from our brief conversation:

Sara Michelle Fetters: Nick. What's it like coming home to Seattle bringing a movie like Love, Simon?

Nick Robinson: It's a cool feeling. I was saying before to someone else, it feels full circle to be coming back home with a film like this. I hope that people will see it. I hope that they'll go out and see it because I feel like it has really got a message worth taking notice of and sharing with others.

Sara Michelle Fetters: For you, Greg, were you familiar at all with Becky Albertalli's book before Elizabeth Berger and Isaac Aptaker's script came your way?

Greg Berlanti: I was. People in my office had read it, really responded to it and tried to option it for us to make, only we ended up losing it to someone else. We lost the bidding. They had sent gifts to the author and everything, but when we didn't get the rights, by then it was on my radar, so I honestly didn't take the time to read it myself at that moment. But then I got sent the script once the company that did option the book, Temple Hill, along with Fox 2000, had finished a draft. They decided to send it to me. I said to myself, 'I guess I should read [Becky's] book now!' By the halfway point, I'm wondering what's going to happen next; I'm curious to know what it is these characters are going to do. By the end I was a crying mess. [laughs]

Sara Michelle Fetters: I ask this, because it's been since 2010 since you stepped behind the camera to direct a feature film, having spent the last few years helping run all of those hit DC Comics television shows like 'Arrow' and 'Supergirl.' What was it about the material? When did you know you had to be the one to direct this film?

Greg Berlanti: I mean, I think for me directing-wise when it is something I haven't written, this alarm goes off in me and it gives me a signal as to whether or not I'm the person for the job. For this one, I specifically knew when I finished the script I immediately wished I had had this movie when I was a kid. That's when I realized I would do anything A) to be a part of it, but B) if I'm not a part of it, to just help them get it made, because it really is the kind of story that I think is just filling a void I didn't even realize needed to be filled. The script spoke to me.

Sara Michelle Fetters: How about you, Alexandra? Where you familiar with the book?

Alexandra Shipp: The script was my introduction to the material. Once I read the script, even before I got it, I knew that this was something that I wanted to be a part of; the story really moved something in me. When I did read the script, what I loved was the language about the 'other.' The language spoke to them, this friend group, all being equal, that this 'other' didn't matter. For me, that was something that I was just like, yes, people need to see that. They need to see that perspective, that whatever I'm doing with my own self has nothing to do with you. That's important.

Then, I read the book and it just solidified things that much more for me. I was like, this is a movie that's not only gonna save lives, but it's gonna change people's perspective of things that they don't understand. I think that's the beauty of filmmaking and in theater and in shows like this, that we're changing the way people see what's going on in the world.

Sara Michelle Fetters: What I love about this property is when I said I was going to go see it about a month ago, a fellow film critic friend's 12-year-old daughter went crazy. She was so insane that I was seeing this before she was. I had no clue that young people of that age were so excited for this story and for this film. What does that say to all of you? From a societal perspective. That not just high school kids but middle school kids, elementary school kids, they are all excited to see your movie.

Nick Robinson: I think it signifies, hopefully, a perspective shift that is happening and that kids are not necessarily growing up seeing things as black and white as previous generations. Actually, Jennifer Garner was talking about this the other day, how her daughters are talking about when they grow up they don't know if they'll marry a boy or a girl. They don't really see a distinction between the two. I think that's hopefully a good thing. It's a sign of people growing up being so much more open and aware of the world around them.

Alexandra Shipp: Yeah, I think it's a social commentative piece when it comes to the evolution of human beings and our ideas of understanding and compassion. I look at these young kids and I just think, 'Oh my gosh! You have so much love.' The amount of judgment that I felt growing up just having a White mom and Black dad, I can't even imagine what my friends must have gone through, them being their own types of 'others.' But kids these days, they just don't see it that way. It's so beautiful. It's such a breath of fresh air and I love that they're excited about this movie because this movie is for them. It's for them. Just like Sixteen Candles and all of those movies were for us. This is one of those movies that's for their generation; that not only speaks to their generation, but also plays into their moral vibration. This is not anything that's necessarily new to them within society, but it's definitely new on-screen, and that's exciting.

Greg Berlanti: I think the best change always comes from kids. It's nice what you've pointed out in the question. What's so rewarding about it is that they're not even doing the math in their heads. I would have been. I've said this before but, when I was 17, I would have been so afraid of people finding out I was gay that I would have been terrified to go to this sort of movie. I'd have been worried that more people would have thought I was gay or found out my secret. It's really powerful to hear that kids aren't thinking about it in those terms. They are just thinking how great this story is. Hopefully, they're the ones who really spread the word, too. This is more in the hands of teenagers than adults because I think they know it's for them. Hopefully they'll spread the word.

Sara Michelle Fetters: While there are obvious issues in this movie that I'm sure you want people to think about and discuss after they watch it, at the film's core, though, is a story of friendship.

Alexandra Shipp: Very much so. It's the most important element in my opinion.

Sara Michelle Fetters: What was it like for all of you as a cast to develop that easygoing naturalistic camaraderie? And not just for you two, Nick and Alexandra, but with your primary co-stars Katherine Langford, Logan Miller and Jorge Lendeborg Jr. as well.

Alexandra Shipp: Well, Nick and Logan were already friends, so they had a head start on the rest of us. [laughs]

Nick Robinson: Only a little one. You fit in pretty quick. [laughs]

Alexandra Shipp: You all made it pretty easy. That helped. [laughs] Honestly, though, it's all because of Greg. What's awesome about Greg is that he got us all together for rehearsals, and then after those rehearsals he would have us all hang out doing what we all do. And so a lot of the friendship that you see on the screen was friendship that we had created in our own lives. Whether it's inside jokes that made it into the movie, or like little things here and there that really brought us really close together, it was all pretty magical. I mean, we still hang out. All these months later we still hang out. I think that we will all be friends for life.

Nick Robinson: BFF's.

Alexandra Shipp: Definitely. BFF's. And I really hope so. I truly do. That would be really nice. These people to me, they mean so very much! When you work on a movie like this, the amount of love and integrity that goes into it to make it work, I don't think that I'll never not have these people in my lives because of what we went through.

Nick Robinson: I would agree with all of that. I think everyone came in with a fantastic attitude. They were all onboard pretty much from day one. The rehearsals really helped, too. They got us all onto more stable ground in terms of flushing out the relationships. I think what you're seeing on the screen is not totally make believe up there. There's a fair amount of realism.

Sara Michelle Fetters: Speaking of make believe, how hard is it to transition between smaller pictures like this one and the more gigantic ones, where it is all make believe and most of the time when you're on the set you're acting against things that are physically not there. Nick, you're not really running from a Tyrannosaur. Alexandra, you're not really battling Magneto in a sphere of crushed iron and rubble.

Nick Robinson: I think it's very lucky that we get to do that. To be able to have both experiences. They're both fun in their own way. The more human story, the more intimate story, it can ultimately be more satisfying. But they're both fun. They're both challenging. You are pretending for a living. That's pretty fun.

Alexandra Shipp: I think about it like food, because I do love food.

Nick Robinson: You're getting your cake and eating it to? [laughs]

Alexandra Shipp: Don't you finish my sentences. I can explain my own metaphors, thank you. [laughs]

Nick Robinson: Suddenly I'm very interested. And hungry. I'm now very hungry.

Alexandra Shipp: Shush! [laughs] But, back to what I was saying. I like to think about it like food. . These big studio films, movies like X-Men. That's like a fancy five-course meal. That's like truffle everything. You know what I mean?

Greg Berlanti: Very expensive.

Alexandra Shipp: Very, very expensive. A little over the top, even. This movie, this movie is like a home-cooked meal. Both of them are delicious. Both of them are special. The comparison for me, though, is that while they both feel good, while they both taste good, one means that much more because someone you loved prepared that meal for you.

I love playing Storm. Playing Storm is so much fun. To get to play a superhero is amazing. But to do a movie like this means just that much more. I'm not gonna change the way people think with X-Men. But with something like Love, Simon? I really get to be that much closer to maybe doing just that. I really get to put more of my heart and soul spin on it. That is really exciting for me, because even though I love eating out, and I eat out almost every night, a home-cooked meal is the best thing I could have. Love, Simon is that home-cooked meal.

Sara Michelle Fetters: I have to wrap things up so I leave you all with this question: At the end of the day, what do you hope people are talking about as they exit the theatre after watching your movie?

Greg Berlanti: These two have heard me say a version of this before but, for me, the movies of this brand that really moved me, especially when they were about young people, or when I was young when I saw them, they've stayed with me forever. I think that's the thing. If you mark part of your life by them, by these films, and they remind you of a pivotal moment in your life, then they become a part of your own biography. You carry them with you. I think that's always my hope for something like this.

Nick Robinson: I've said an answer similar to this as well, but I hope the people walk away feeling like they were included and were a part of something. That their perspective, hopefully, has changed or that they've gained some new insight that they may not have had before. I think that is one of the strengths of this film, and it's what makes it a little subversive, too. The film is mainstream and it's kind of pop. It's something you've seen before. But it's also told from a perspective that you haven't maybe seen or listened to before. It's a little alternative. A little rock 'n' roll. I hope that people walk away trying to figure out what exactly was different. Hopefully, it's obvious for them. I hope that they take into account this new perspective and feel. That they give it a think, you know? You give it a think.

Alexandra Shipp: 'Give it a think.' I like that.

Nick Robinson: Just use the old noodle. Let people feel like they were included and that they were heard.

Alexandra Shipp: I want to create allies. Yes. I want to create allies with this movie. I want people to see this movie, see how the 'other' is treated in this movie and to not allow something like that to happen in front of them. I really want to create soldiers for social injustice. For those moments when someone's getting hurt or bullied or just treated wrong, I want someone to stand up and actually do something about it. I think that kids are headed that way. I think a movie like this really allows you to see that, even though that a person is weird or a nerd or a geek or a freak or a little bit different or whatever else you can think of, they're still human. No one deserves to be treated like they are not human. No one.




Randy Rainbow on fame, and joining the Seattle Men's and Women's Choruses for 'Not In Our Town' on April 7 and 8
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LGBTQ stories take the spotlight at 12th annual Aaina, South Asian Women's Focus
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The Greatest Hits Man: Burt Bacharach has a deep catalog of classic songs to play when he performs this coming week at Dimitriou's Jazz Alley
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'Celebrating David Bowie' showcased the legend's music to great effect, but not much else
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Thalia's Umbrella delivers brilliant premiere of The Impossibility of NOW
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Rainbow City Band presents 'Justice for All: Herstory' on Sunday, March 25
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Seattle Humane - Pets of the Week
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Stand Up for Safer Schools Day
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My Lorde, what a great show! New Zealander makes triumphant arena debut with opening act Tove Styrke
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Matter-of-fact Simon easy to love
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Suitably thrilling Tomb Raider changes the game
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Visceral Entebbe a frustratingly forgettable terrorism procedural
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Giving it a think: Director Greg Berlanti and stars Nick Robinson and Alexandra Shipp on sharing Love, Simon with the world
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