It’s pretty incredible that after so many years of LGBT visibility in the media that we finally have a mainstream movie where the lead identifies as gay. Even better, it’s not a film marketed towards mature adults (Brokeback Mountain, for instance), but works for several different audiences in the process.
This film, of course, is Love, Simon, which I finally saw last night after grabbing a bite to eat with my friend in New York City. I have been wanting to see the movie for months now, ever since I started hearing buzz about it a while ago and I have to say that I was truly impressed by what director Greg Berlanti was able to accomplish throughout it. There was one glaring problem I saw with it, but I’ll get to that later.
Straight from the jump, we find out that our leading male Simon (played wonderfully by Nick Robinson) is gay. The opening scene of the movie showcases his sexuality in a funny way, where he finds himself gawking at a beefy construction worker outside before his father Jack (Josh Duhamel) bursts into his room and assumes he’s looking at pictures of Gigi Hadid. He’s clearly wrong.
The movie is set in suburban “anytown”, USA, which works for a lot of teen dramadies like this one. Jennifer Garner plays his mother Emily, which makes me feel like I’m getting super old as I feel like I just saw her in 13 Going on 30 yesterday. He also has a younger sister named Nora (Talitha Eliana Bateman), both fo which play a crucial role in his coming out later on in the film.
The rest of the characters that are important to the overall execution of Love, Simon are his three best friends. I am so ecstatic that Greg did not make Simon a football jock or the popular kid, as the tone of the overall film would’ve been completely different. Simon seems to be a bit of that everyday Doug Funny/Charlie Brown type of guy, and hangs with his own versions of Patty Mayonnaise and Peppermint Patty, if you get my gist.
Leah, Abby and Nick (Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp and Jorge Lendeborg Jr, respectively) play his best friends, with Leah being somewhat of a lifelong buddy whereas Abby moved to his school her senior year. Their school evidently has its own gossip site, where Leah tells Simon that there is a story on there regarding a closeted kid from their high school. Desperate to find someone to talk to, he finds this person’s email address, creates his own, and starts having a conversation with them using his code name of Jacques. The other person’s name is Blue.
Throughout the movie, their conversations intensifies in terms of coming to terms with their sexualities individually, with Blue coming out to his father in one of the emails but we never truly know who he actually is. There are a couple of guys who come into question as to whether or not they are Blue, as Simon is aware that they go to the same high school with one another, however he isn’t ready to come out to him just yet, or even at all.
The driving force for Simon to come out in this film resides on a frenemy of sorts named Martin, who is expertly played by Logan Miller. Martin is essentially a harmless theater geek, who is annoying like a gnat around your face but has good intentions in the beginning of the movie. When Simon checks the school’s computer for an email from Blue, he accidentally forgets to log off and Martin winds up checking what he wrote and decides to blackmail him because of this.
The deal is if Simon can hook him up with Abby, then he won’t expose his emails. Simon then goes on a complete tailspin to get Abby to like Martin, which seems to work during a scene at a local Waffle House, keep Nick away from Abby (who has a major crush on her) by convincing him that Leah is in love with him. Essentially, Simon is screwing over his three best friends to keep his sexuality a secret, which is understandable given the circumstances.
He then deals with the consequences of his decisions, and is forced to face his sexuality head on with everyone around him as the movie progresses. Abby and his sister play a crucial role in his coming out process, as the former is the first person he tells his secret whereas his sister’s emotional breakdown after finding out he’s gay is truly incredible and reinforces the love that family has for you if you allow it to happen.
I won’t give too much else away, because this film really does an incredible job with how Simon comes out, but my only issue happens to be that his outing was a tad easy for him. Many kids, even in today’s world, have an extremely hard time with coming out as they are beaten up, bullied and even worse… commit suicide. Simon’s experience pales in comparison, as there are two guys who play the bully-type in the film, but nothing ever really comes of it as one particular teacher shuts down their homophobia in one scene and then that’s it. That sort of thing doesn’t really happen in real life, and I wished they would’ve made his story a little bit more intense as opposed to giving it a Hollywood-type kick.
What did you think of Love, Simon, did you think they were able to get their point across? Let us know your thoughts.
Read more at: Instinct Magazine.
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