With Queer love stories featuring in this years and last years Oscars, it’s sometimes easy to forget the lack of mainstream representation of LGBT+ people in film. While Love, Simon might not be Oscar worthy, its role as a sweet, funny and age accessible (rating 12a) is no less important. While the film isn’t fully groundbreaking, it uses the familiar formula of the high school movie with warmth and humour to show the anxieties about coming out.
Simon is a regular teen, even stating in the opening lines himself, “For the most part my life is totally normal”; apart from the fact that no one knows Simon is gay. Simon’s decision to stay in the closet comes mostly from his desire for everything to stay the way it is. His parents are progressive and there’s even an openly gay kid at his high-school, it’s just the fuss of coming out to everyone that Simon has a problem with, as well as anxieties over their reaction: “ announcing who you are to the world is pretty terrifying, what if the world doesn’t like you?” However, Simon’s life of secrecy is upended when he discovers someone else at his school is gay via the school’s gossip blog. An anonymous email relationship blooms between the two and Simon starts to open up more, thinking more and more about the possibility of coming out.
The director, Greg Berlanti, the showrunner behind some massive tv shows like Arrow and Supergirl has created a well polished big budget main stream teen movie, with the heart and humour of an indie flick. The film does suffer from being over produced, with a constant soundtrack and some of the dialogue being a tad cheesy. However, it makes up for this with some genuinely well crafted jokes. Props have to be given to some of the side characters in the film, in particular the drama teacher (it’s a high school movie, of COURSE there’s a musical!), who has some excellent one liners: “I was an extra in the Lion King, I shouldn’t have to deal with this!”
While it could be faulted for aggressively courting a mainstream crowd, this film is just as important as Oscar worthy films like Call Me by Your Name and Moonlight. This heart-warming, charming and funny teen rom-com is long over-due. Everyone deserves to see themselves represented on screen, in multiple genres, be it a thought provoking indie-flick or a wholesome teen rom-com. As Simon states himself, “I deserve a great love story.”
Director: Greg Berlanti.
Starring: Nick Robinson, Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel, Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp, Logan Miller, Keiynan Lonsdale.