On March 16, Love, Simon was released in theaters. It’s a teenage rom-com following high school student Simon Spier, who struggles to come out to his friends and family while also pursuing a boy he met online.
This movie is IMPORTANT. It’s really the first movie that is a mainstream, well-funded, well-advertised portrayal of an LGBTQ+ teenage protagonist, where the movie isn’t a drama or indie film. We’ve got stars Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel, we’ve got a major studio, we’ve got a real budget – things other gay rom-coms have not had.
So, let’s get into it: (Beware of SPOILERS though)…
Some pros of this movie:
– For one, it’s gay. Obviously, it could have been gayer (every movie could and should be gayer). But it was pretty gay, and there was a gay kiss, so that’s good.
– Really none of the movie was problematic. I was a little bit worried going into it that the movie would be offensive – not like a character says something that is clearly offensive which the audience recognizes as offensive, but like something offensive being presented as non-offensive. Remember when 3 Billboards portrayed a racist cop sympathetically? Problematic. Remember when Han Solo kissed Leia even though she told him to stop? Problematic. Those kinds of things. Something you’re supposed to be okay with, but you’re not okay with. But not in this movie!
– Nick Robinson, the actor who plays SImon, is gay! This was such a relief. Way too often, the actors who portray LGBTQ+ characters are not actually LGBTQ+. Josh Gad, who played LeFou in the Beauty and the Beast remake, isn’t gay. Neither Timothee Chalamet nor Armie Hammer from Call Me By Your Name are gay. Neither Jake Gyllenhaal nor Heath Ledger (RIP) from Brokeback Mountain were gay. This is a persistent issue. But not in this movie!
-There is diversity in Simon’s friend group. Simon basically has three friends, and two of them are black! Great job, movie.
Okay, now let’s look at some cons of this movie:
– Simon’s family is so bougie. The entire set of their house looks like a Property Brothers reveal, with everything bought from Pier 1 Imports. It’s a little ridiculous. Also, Simon buys coffee every single morning. Who can afford to buy coffee everyday? He doesn’t even have a job! #richkid
– What time does Simon’s school start? This kid is in high school, and in the morning he somehow has time to get ready, SIT DOWN for breakfast, check social media on his laptop, pick up three friends, get coffee, and still manage to snag a great parking spot! How is this possible??? Plus, when he wakes up in the morning it’s super bright outside. That’s just not realistic. This high school must start at like 10:30.
– This movie should be about Ethan, not Simon. There’s a person in Simon’s grade who is already out-of-the-closet as a gay man, and I feel like that should have gotten way more attention than it did. It was a little weird because everyone at Simon’s high school makes a huge huge deal about him being gay, but Ethan has been out for at least a year (according to Simon) and is doing fine, so shouldn’t the classmates be more chill about this?
– Which brings me to my next point. Simon goes to a HUGE high school with a ton of people, yet, remarkably, no one else is gay?? According to Ethan, it’s just them two?? I mean statistically speaking, there’s a bunch of other LGBTQ+ kids at that school, and I just find it hard to believe that not a single one of them had come out??
– This movie has a lot of cliches. Just across the board. For one, Simon is in the drama club. The drama club guys are always gay. The movie as a whole is pretty cliche. It’s fine, though. Still great.
– Finally, Simon has the easiest life. There is absolutely nothing intersectional about him. He’s super financially stable, he isn’t mentally ill, he’s white, he’s Christian, he’s good-looking (in a nice bland way), he’s not even quirky or weird. He is the epitome of average. Now, the movie actually kind of plays up how “regular” he is in order to highlight his gayness, but I personally was a little bit disappointed that his character didn’t have more dimension. But then, the world might not be ready for that, I don’t know.
Final thoughts? GO SEE THE MOVIE. Support movies that are about marginalized groups! Go to the movie theater and purchase a ticket to encourage studios to keep make more movies like this one!!!!