+ Recommended – NR, Fantasy, Comedy
Unfortunately, Simon’s Quest isn’t longer. There are a lot of important discussions to be had within the narrative of the film, and those topics are handled with delicate care in a way that’s both natural and subtle. Relatable characters and the grounded filming style will have your religious, homophobic aunt starry-eyed for a mere 22 minutes.
Simon, a gay werewolf, must battle for acceptance within the community and within himself; a relevant story for society now more than ever. It’s a story that juxtaposes the treatment of werewolves in this alternate world to our own treatment of the LGBT+ community in this one. Writer-director Marley Jaeger successfully outlined that the only thing worse than being gay, or a werewolf in this case, is not being yourself. And as contrived as that sounds, she still manages to write in a way that exceeds common tropes.
For instance, Simon’s acquaintances understand that it’s Simon’s job to come to terms with who he is, and all they can do is help. Johnny Pozzi (Simon) conveys a likeable, yet flawed and almost broken character. With not much to do in terms of facial expressions, I found that these limited expressions actually crafted a layered performance. Jaeger’s care for rich, character-driven storytelling is showcased as even Simon’s clothing gives some insight into his personality. This extents beyond just clothing, to casting as well. Talley Gale (Gwen) and Lucas Brahme (Rob) have on-screen chemistry with Pozzi, providing an extra blanket of believability.
From the opening scene, I was intrigued and knew exactly what tone to expect going forward. For a short film, Jaeger establishes some semblance of world-building without ever crossing the line of showing too much. There’s enough content to encourage more stories in this universe going forward; could you imagine a mini, monster universe where stories like Simon’s are able to flourish? That’s my hope, anyways.
Found footage or docu-series style films typically are unable to draw my attention. But in recent memory, shows like American Vandal (2017) have pushed the boundary for different outlets of storytelling perspective; this is no different with Simon’s Quest, shout-out to Talley Gale and Holly Durgan. In fact, the filming style enhances the relationships of the characters and the connection one might feel with Simon’s character. It’s very intimate.
Final thoughts? Simon’s Quest flawlessly builds upon it’s core message through camera work, costuming, and dialogue. Without being too flashy or showing too much, it proves that indie filmmakers can tell their stories creatively, sometimes better than Hollywood. And what better movie to watch during Pride Month? You can check out the film here and make sure to share and support this film.