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Finally. After decades of mainstream Hollywood marginalising gay characters to peripheral roles as the best friend or confidant, Love, Simon walks quietly yet proudly out of the closet and reassures the target teenage audience that everyone can be the hero of a glossy love story, regardless of sexual orientation. Based on the young adult novel Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, director Greg Berlanti's unabashedly feel-good comedy drama places the central character's internal angst under a glitterball without sacrificing goofy supporting characters, tears or reconciliations. The soundtrack sways to indie, rock and pop courtesy of Troye Sivan, The 1975 and Bleachers but still finds time for Whitney Houston and Jackson 5, complemented by high tempo dialogue. When a father waxes nostalgically about a song from his adolescence - "This was huge, when we were young" - his son tartly retorts "So was Bill Cosby." Scriptwriters Elizabeth Berger and Isaac Aptaker don't project the protagonist's coming out through a rose-tinted prism. Simon ruthlessly severs personal ties to protect his secret but, on the whole, his self-awakening is crowd-pleasing soap opera writ large - familiar territory for director Berlanti, whose early work included the era-defining TV series Dawson's Creek. Meet shy, sensitive high school student Simon Spier (Nick Robinson). He is blessed with loving parents (Josh Duhamel, Jennifer Garner) and an adorable younger sister (Talitha Bateman), who dreams of becoming a chef. In the seclusion of his bedroom, Simon wrestles with his burgeoning sexuality, unsure of the reaction of his family or an inner circle of friends comprising Leah (Katherine Langford), Nick (Jorge Lendeborg Jr) and Abby (Alexandra Shipp). When another student posts an anonymous message about his sexuality on a blog under the moniker Blue, Simon nervously responds under the pseudonym Jacques. The secret pen pals find camaraderie in each other's electronic missives until a kooky classmate called Martin (Logan Miller) stumbles upon Simon's emails and blackmails the closeted student - a date with Abby in exchange for his silence. Simon ruefully obliges by sabotaging Nick's burgeoning romance with Abby, oblivious to the long-term damage to his support network. Love, Simon is an entertaining and touching first step towards equal on-screen representation that doesn't stray far from well-trodden narrative territory. Robinson imbues his tormented teenager with sweetness, vulnerability and resolve, so he remains sympathetic even when his actions are reprehensible, and both Garner and Duhamel are given key scenes laced with parental pride and understanding. Choice one-liners are reserved for Natasha Rothwell's spunky drama teacher, who performs a pitch-perfect takedown of homophobic bullies in the school canteen. A fantasy montage, kindled by Simon wondering aloud "Why is straight the default?", delivers another comic crescendo. Berlanti builds towards a gushing romantic grandstand finish that should inspire goofy grins, tears and even smatterings of applause.