"Love, Simon": Why It's Making A Huge Impact
BY KATIE CORYELL
Never have I ever seen a film quite like Love, Simon. I say this because most LGBTQ+ films have a sad undertone, a dramatically upsetting storyline, or lack of a support system for the queer character. But this movie is different.
Instead, Simon has three best friends, two loving parents, a sister who he adores and more. He is an average teenager going through what most teenagers do -- life. He is a Panic! at the Disco loving Hufflepuff who drinks too much coffee, loves going on adventures, and wants to get through high school. He must deal with simple annoyances like homework and balancing his school and social lives, not to mention the pressures of the future. He also just so happens to be going through the impactful experience of coming out as gay to his peers and loved ones, and this film shows that even when you’re surrounded by so many great people, it is still a difficult experience to come out. Something like Love, Simon has never been put on the big screen before -- not as a Hollywood blockbuster hit, anyway. On Rotten Tomatoes, it has a 92% on the Tomatometer and at the box office, the film earned $11.5 million over its debut weekend. And that representation being shown to the world, to all of the queer kids in middle and high school looking for someone just like them, is extremely important for both the film industry and public to recognize.
A Time Magazine article titled "Love, Simon Is a Groundbreaking Gay Movie. But Do Today's Teens Actually Need It?," recently sparked much outrage in the LGBTQ+ community. It explained that, according to the writer, the film was meant for a different generation rather than today's teenagers because they "already have a good shot at fitting in" and the film seems like it's "looking back in time." I'm not sure what this author was trying to do here, but he could not be more wrong. There are so many teenagers that are still struggling to come out. Even if they have support and love surrounding them, it is still a big deal to come to terms with something that is still widely considered to be abnormal. We can wish for the world to change all we want, but there are still people out there (as shown in the film) that are bullies. People can be hateful. To say that all modern-day queer teens have it easy is ignorant, because everyone has a different story, goes through different things, and very possibly experience various degrees of hate. To say that we don't "need" this film is ridiculous. Why do heterosexuals need Nicholas Sparks? Why does anyone need any movie? Because someone out there can relate and film has the power to give people a voice. That's the whole reason we have storytellers like Becky Albertalli (author of the original novel, Simon vs. the Homosapiens Agenda) and Greg Berlanti (director of Love, Simon). These two individuals put their all into the novel and the film alike, and the payoff has an enormously emotional and impressive effect on its viewers.
I'm certainly not arguing that society as a whole has not come far within the last decade, because that's simply untrue. Without achieving as much as we have, movies like Love, Simon would not get made. But that's the whole point -- it is a truly wonderful thing to have this film to look up to. It sets a standard for how queer kids should be treated by the ones they love, and it shows that modern-day gay students trying to get through high school aren't as alone as they might think. Not to mention the fact that there are so many older queer people who are getting to see this on the big screen, as well. When I saw the film in my small town in New Jersey, there were so many gay couples and LGBTQ+ people -- old, young, and in-between -- that cried all the way through the last half of the film, myself included.
Thinking about how the world is going to see Simon (played by Nick Robinson, who showcases heartache and happiness beautifully through his acting) and his story is enough to get the waterworks going. Whether it be teens who need a story like Simon's to look up to or adults who wish they had Simon when they were growing up, along with straight people who probably never thought about what it was like for their gay friends to come out, this film is impactful, to say the least. No matter who you are, where you come from, or what you've been through, please support Love, Simon. Not only will you be giving queer individuals the visibility they deserve, but you will also have a wonderful time watching a real and true story (complete with comedy, heart, and even musical theatre) unravel.
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