In the new film Love, Simon, the traditional teen romantic comedy is mirrored by introducing a twist that is usually not explored in media. By making the main character gay, as well as featuring a plot surrounding the struggles associated with being gay, the movie takes all of the corniness typical of coming-of-age genres and transplants a new heart into it.
Played by Nick Robinson, high schooler Simon is head over heels in love with a digital ego referred to as ‘Blue.’ After Blue posts on social media about his sexuality, keeping his true identity hidden, Simon reaches out explaining that he “has the same secret.” Religiously exchanging emails, Simon becomes obsessed with uncovering the identity of his virtual friend. Gradually ruling out peers he encounters at school, Simon accidentally leaves his emails open after researching on a school computer. The mystery becomes tricky after drama-club nerd, Martin, discovered Simon’s secret emails. In exchange for not publicizing Simon’s sexuality and emails, Martin forces Simon to help him in the doomed mission to impress the hottest girl in school. At this point, Simon has to juggle keeping his secret from his family, friends, and school, maintain a relationship with Blue, while simultaneously earning Martin an unattainable date.
Putting the somewhat predictable plot aside, Love, Simon pays tribute to the millions of LGBT Americans who have waited for representation in media for many years. It is an earnest PSA that also serves as a charming crowd pleaser. Simply by displaying the challenges of growing up as a gay person in America, the movie communicates certain hardships that many are unable to relate to. To put it simply, Love, Simon is a breakthrough moment for mainstream representation of same-sex romance.
I am not alone when speaking well of Love, Simon; critics around the world are in support of this groundbreaking film. According to Terrie White of Empire, with Love, Simon, “The high school teen romcom is reborn for 2018. Funny, sentimental and smart.” Molly Freeman of Screen Rant goes on to comment about the films influence on younger generations, “Love, Simon is a funny, heartfelt, and truly touching teen romantic comedy that instantly becomes a modern classic for today’s generation.” That being said, there were a few people who were not so keen on this new teen drama. Several reviews comment on the movie’s repetitive and predictable plot, as well as the perceivably shallow characters. Of course, no one was expecting it to be a five-star cinematographic masterpiece! What many of these criticisms overlook is the recognition of how this more inclusive movie paves the way for future cinematic projects.
For the most part, while Love, Simon may not be the blockbuster film that you go to see several times in the theater, it is certainly worth paying a visit.
– Maggie Di Sanza