Before I get into why everyone and their mother (literally) should go see Love, Simon in theaters, I would like to start off with a disclaimer for the haters who are worried: no, going to see this movie will not make you- or anyone else- gay. It may, however, make you cry. Regardless of how you feel about cheesy teenage rom-coms, Love, Simon will be the most important one you see all year.
The movie, which is based off of a novel by Becky Albertalli, follows the story of Simon Spier, played by Nick Robinson. As if being in high school isn’t enough of a challenging time to one’s sense of self, he ends up falling for someone online who he doesn’t know the identity of. He does know, however, that the person he has fallen for is a guy- but nobody else knows he’s gay. As he struggles with coming out to his friends and family, the audience is taken on both his hilarious and daunting journey that makes the film entertaining, endearing and authentic.
The obvious importance of Love, Simon is the fact that now LGBTQ teens have a movie that represents their community. Not only does this mark a huge step in society towards acceptance, but it shows that young adult movies- that aren’t about two teenagers where one is dying from some partially made up disease and they frolic around the world together- can be extremely meaningful while still being enjoyable. Simon’s story is not only a high school love story, but it shows a very real thing LGBTQ youth go through- coming out. Just like Simon, LGBTQ teens often face fear, scrutiny, and coming to terms with their new “normal”. In these ways, Love, Simon provides a both realistic and compassionate representation.
Simon’s story also presents questions and lessons about sexuality, friendship and family that further prove it as a must see. It’s refreshing to see a movie about teenagers where the parents didn’t somehow fall off the face of the Earth. It’s also good to see that friendships aren’t always sunny and sweet- people are people and conflicts happen! When Simon comes out to his parents, the audience feels them going through all of the emotions that potentially come along with it- they’re happy he was honest with them, worried he’ll be judged, surprised- but most of all guilty that they didn’t see something so important beforehand and he’s had to go through it alone. Love, Simon did an excellent job capturing the funny, awkward, and loving dynamic between parents and their children that is so often overlooked in young adult films. It portrays them as actual people and involved parents, not just figures for show or intense philosophical lessons. I can’t say too much about the conflict Simon goes through with his friends because I don’t want to give out too many spoilers, but their reactions to his coming out and his actions in general are all very realistic possibilities that make it all the more interesting. The movie solidifies the message of unconditional love between family and friends, even when things change, which makes this an important movie for families and friends alike to see.
The final thing about Love, Simon that makes it so adorable (as in I’ll probably go see it nine more times, IDC) was the way his love life was shown. I can’t say too much- the big reveal of his online crush’s identity is kind of the point- but it was exciting to see a young love story that didn’t involve cheesy pick up lines and unusually profound (and surprisingly not busy) teenage boys swooping the unsure of herself artsy girl off of her feet.
Whether The Fault in our Stars rocked your socks off or not, Love, Simon is the most significant teenage romantic comedy you’ll see all year. Not only is it making a major move for the LGBTQ community, but it contains down-to-earth messages about family, self identity and friendships in the face of change that makes it especially important to high schoolers and their families to see.