By Daniel Krieger
Love, Simon is a movie I enjoyed so much that within two weeks of its release, I had already watched it in theaters three times. While it does stray from the book, Simon vs. The Homosapien’s Agenda, the movie is emotional and beautifully made.
Simon Spier, the protagonist played by Nick Robinson, presents himself as just like the audience – that is, if everyone in the audience lived a white American suburban life – except for one secret: his homosexuality.
This isn’t the first movie to feature a gay protagonist – it’s far from it in fact – but it still an important step towards greater inclusion. This is because it is the first movie to feature a gay protagonist produced by a major company: 20th Century Fox.
In the movie, Simon learns that there is another closeted gay kid in his school, and the two begin emailing each other, developing a friendship. The other gay student calls himself Blue, and desires to keep his real identity a secret. Simon, following suit, keeps his identity a secret, but in reality he really wants to learn Blue’s true identity. Throughout the movie, Simon imagines Blue as several different people.
That was one confusing aspect about the movie. It doesn’t explain that Simon is imaging who Blue is. At first, it seemed like it revealed who Blue was straight away, but this is not so.
The movie is heartwarming to watch, but it is also discouraging to see how it is heteronormative, compared to the book. In the book, Simon’s friends take him to a gay bar where he gets drunk and flirts with a boy in college, whereas in Love, Simon, the scene is replaced with Simon daydreaming about college, where he imagines letting his freak-flag fly. And even that is just him covering his dorm walls in posters before dancing to “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” with a bunch of people in rainbow shirts. It’s very reminiscent of a show called The Real O’Neals, when Kenny O’Neal has similar daydreams (read: gaydreams). There is one glaring difference, however. Love Simon’s scene is a lot tamer.
The movie needed to feature Simon’s homosexuality more. While the movie’s main plot is about his relationship with mystery boy Blue, the movie is no different than any other teen romance movie. Simon’s homosexuality should have had a greater impact on the movie. While there was a scene that displayed appalling homophobia, it was a very short portion of the movie and was quickly resolved.
Perhaps this is just because Love, Simon is the first movie of its kind. Once we have more movies like this, we can have all the different stories that we need.
While the movie is a lot less “gayer” than the book, I still believe that it was immensely enjoyable and an important stepping stone towards greater inclusion in the media. Instead of the gay character being on the side, simply there just so the producers can say they included a gay character, Love, Simon portrays a story where the main protagonist is the gay character.
The score is one of my favourite parts of Love, Simon. The movie ends with “Wild Heart” by Bleachers. I couldn’t help myself from crying as it played; the song has such a happy and excitable chorus that fits so perfectly with the ending.
The movie has a few recurring scenes, that while small and short, are very powerful (and again made me cry). Throughout the movie, Simon gets iced coffee three times, each time with a slight difference. To avoid spoilers, I won’t reveal the difference, but it is a surprisingly powerful way to show the change throughout the movie.
The movie takes a great look at what coming out is like. When coming out to one of his friends, Abby, played by Alexandra Shipp, she responds with, “Oh.” A lot of movies feature either instant acceptance or instant disappointment when someone comes out. The reactions Simon received were new and more real to life.
Soon, Love, Simon will be coming out for streaming on services like Amazon Video. I highly recommend it to anyone. I rate Love, Simon eight out of ten.