After seeing previews for Love, Simon I knew I had to see it. A coming of age story that was finally involving the LGBTQ+ community in a positive, main character role.
I’ll preface this movie review by admitting that I myself am not a member of the LGBTQ+ community, but I am a loud and proud straight ally who will forever do everything in my power to focus on inclusion.
For that reason though, I was hesitant on putting my review of Love, Simon out there. Not only am I not yet an official movie critic (give me a few years and I might be) but I’m also not officially a part of the community. Essentially, I get so hyperfocused on inclusion that sometimes I exclude myself from participating in things focused on inclusivity because I don’t want to be received incorrectly. However, I’ve delayed this movie review and a public inclusion of the community on my blog long enough, so I figured it was time to stop dragging my feet and throw it out there. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose, right?
I don’t want to give an overall synopsis of the movie, I think the original book itself can probably do that much better than I could anyway.
If you’re interested in purchasing the book, check it out on Amazon here:
And if you’re interested in watching the film you can also watch it on Amazon at this link:
What I will go into though, are my thoughts on the film itself. What else are movie reviews for, right?
Overall, I adored the film. It was funny, thought-provoking, and pulled my heartstrings. This is, honestly, the first movie I have actually full-on cried during since seeing My Dog Skip when I was younger. (That movie messed my little 8-year-old dog-loving heart right up.)
I recognize there are some shortcomings in this film, which I mostly look past in order to appreciate the fact that children growing up in 2018 and beyond have a movie with a gay protagonist.
This is huge.
Before I was even in middle school I watched all sorts of movies that were focused on high school experiences and dreamed of what my eventual place as a high schooler would be like. Growing up as a blonde, white cheerleader though, I wasn’t hard pressed for places to see myself in films. I’m not the majority though. My recognition of this fact is precisely why I’m so focused on inclusion and representation for people who aren’t like me. They deserve to see themselves in movies and shows and all works of art. They deserve to feel included to dream and see parallels between themselves and the characters of a film. We all do!
With that in mind, I think we can all agree that a teen movie with a gay protagonist was well overdue.
I like to tell myself that films and art are often ahead of the times, as far as being able to introduce an idea to the public years before it’s needed. But with the inclusion of gay characters, I’m a little disheartened to say I don’t think that’s the case. I’m proud of the strides that have been made, and I am beyond hopeful of the inclusion that will undoubtedly take place moving forward, but I do often catch myself thinking, “How many of my peers could have used this just even 5 years ago? Why has it taken us this long?”
I don’t mean to take away from the movie because as I said before, I truly did love it.
However, on the point of inclusion, I am interested to see how many members of the next generation have actually seen this film. Theaters seem to still be utilized primarily by my generation and above, so I think once Love, Simon rolls out on whatever streaming service, it may gain more traction and access to the eyes that so desperately deserve its story. I can’t see too many closeted teens asking their parents to take them to see Love, Simon as I can see teens who will stream the film from the comfort of their laptops and iPads.
I think this film is also important for straight allies and those who do not yet know they may become straight allies. It provides a glimpse into the feelings and situations that teens are experiencing in this day and age and allows us, if only for a few hours, to relate to something we otherwise don’t – the life experience of a closeted gay teen. Granted, Love, Simon is a very vanilla version of said life experience, but I think it’s a movie that’s a first of its kind. To me, this film allows parents and soon to be parents (meaning my generation and above) the opportunity to consider what their children or children’s friends might be experiencing and how to deal with it. This movie opens a door of possibility that may otherwise remain unconsidered for the “grown-ups” of the future. To consider how we might respond if/when our own children are faced with coming out about their sexuality. How we can be understanding and supportive when any person, friend or family, comes out about anything they might be hiding from plain sight.
Another reason I love this movie so much is that by being inclusive in its nature, it allows for others to ride the wave of inclusivity. By the end of the film, Simon sparks a fire of self-acceptance around his school that allows all different types of things people are “hiding” about themselves to be brought to the light. By living in his own authentic way, Simon unknowingly gave permission to so many other teens at his school to live more in tune with their own authentic nature, whatever that may be.
If you haven’t seen this wonderful film, I implore you to get your life together and see it!
There are, of course, critiques of things the film could have done better, but I think this movie is less about arguing our cinematic viewpoints and nit-picking and more about accepting the social revolution that is already happening and will continue to catch fire thanks to movies like Love, Simon. Perspectives will shift and acceptance will be more and more accessible to all those who have yet to receive it’s loving touch in their life. Mark my words 😉