“Love, Simon” sometimes films make you exhilarated, cry, and hope because the hero is in physical peril; “Love, Simon” makes you feel those emotions through the agonizingly painful awkwardness of being a teenager and on top of that being gay. The film has importance as having the first gay lead protagonist in a rom-com. It’s directed by Greg Berlanti who created the best show I love to watch with dudes getting killed with arrows.
However, without a great story, you’ve got nothing. Simon, luckily, is all of us. He’s handsome, but is painfully awkward. This is evident in the first five-minutes when he approaches a handsome landscaper and fumbles all over himself. These cringeworthy teenage moments happen over and over- just like high school terrible moments.
He’s young, but with a very adult secret and he doesn’t know if his friends today would be his friends tomorrow, if they knew he were gay. That just sucks. I don’t normally do this, but I want any readers out there to know that it’s okay to be gay. You have a right to safety, love, and all of the wonderful things that the world has to offer. If anyone says differently or uses their religion as a shield or sword for their bigotry against you, you can tell them fuck you right from me!
Back to Simon, he’s struggling with coming out and sees on a blog that someone else is too. They begin an online correspondence and I prayed that it wasn’t a forty-five year old creepo writing him. It wasn’t. Unfortunately, his correspondence is found out by Martin, a fellow student, who threatens to out him, unless he helps set him up with one of his friends. Martin is a horrible garbage person and is horribly awkward as well and blunders through his terrible terrible life in the film.
Simon, fearing being outed, complies to Martin’s demand as he tries to discover the identity of his online paramour. I don’t want to give to much away, BUT in the trailer we learn that Simon either comes out or gets outed. Yes, he eventually gets outed, but that is as unimportant to the protagonist’s journey as being gay is in real life. It’s just you. Simon- deals with it and if you’re a small-minded dipshit, you’ll deal with it too! The film proceeds to have many cringeworthy -oh my god, I’m having teen flashbacks- moments and I’m so glad I’m no longer a teen.
Furthermore, the film could seem hokey or corny to a lot of cynical people that are terrible, homophobic or both. Honestly, I have to write if you don’t like this film you are per se terrible. I’m not saying that if you gave the movie a C+ you would refuse to make a gay couple a wedding cake, but I bet you would tell there are “Two Sides” bullshit.
The film really goes beyond gay identity just as Simon does. It is coming of age story where we grow up with simon and realize this is just who he is, but he’s still a kid. I can tell you that 17 and 18 is still a kid. My first assignment in the Army I was a lieutenant and had many 18 year olds in my platoon and they had childish interests, were desperate for guidance, and tried many awkward times to get acceptance. In short, Love, Simon portrays youth accurately and we, like Simon, have to deal.
The film was making a point that these were kids struggling with being grownups and they just weren’t ready. Adulthood is forced upon us, we don’t get to choose it on our own terms. For me, that’s what Berlanti was trying to say: we have to become adults and deal with our identity because life will force us to do so no matter what. We don’t choose to be smart, dumb, gay, or straight- it’s just who we are and we have to face it every day because we have to do so. The film forces us to live through Simon’s awkwardness as he becomes a Man. Being a grown up sucks, but it doesn’t suck as much as being a teenager.
The film leaves us with uncertainty because that’s what being an adult is. We have to be ourselves or we can never be free, or as Jennifer Gardner put it heart wrenchingly- you’ll always be holding your breath.
I would recommend that you see this film and then see it again!