Sexual identity faithfully explored in ‘Love, Simon’
High school is the time when teenagers begin to find themselves, hang out with friends and explore their sexuality.
Based on Becky Albertalli’s novel “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda,” “Love, Simon” is about seventeen-year-old Simon Spier (Nick Robinson), who is your ordinary high school boy with a close-knit circle of friends and a loving family, except for one secret that he has kept from them. Simon is gay and has kept his secret pretty well-hidden for most of his life – up until now.
One day Blue, another student at his high school, posts that he is gay, and Simon immediately messages him saying he knows how Blue feels. The two begin emailing on a regular basis, but Simon accidentally leaves his email open and one of his classmates, Martin, reads the messages.
Martin tells Simon that he is going to expose the emails to the entire school unless Simon manages to get his close friend, Abby (Alexandra Shipp), to go on a date with Martin. Simon spends a majority of the movie anxious about his secret being told to the whole school and tries everything to set up Abby and Martin.
Simon eventually gets caught up and tells his best friend Leah (Katherine Langford) and his family that he is gay. Leah and Simon’s family provide him with the support that he needs, and Simon eventually meets Blue at a Ferris wheel at a carnival, where they are able to come to terms with their identities.
I had the opportunity to see this movie over a month before it came out at an advanced screening, and I thought it was incredible. Robinson does an excellent job portraying Simon as a normal high school boy and does not over-emphasize his sexual orientation. In many television shows and movies, gay characters are very stereotypical. But Simon was just Simon, and being gay is only one of his numerous qualities in addition to his sense of humor, love for his family and support for his friends.
It was nice to see Langford in a role different from her character Hannah in the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why.” Langford brought an amazing energy to Leah and her portrayal of the character felt very authentic. The movie had some hysterical moments throughout it and was not afraid to poke fun at homophobic parents in a comedic way.
The comedy in the movie was very effective in communicating the struggles many gay teens have to deal with in relation to their friends, families and communities.
The subject matter can be considered a touchy subject by some, but the movie addresses it in a way that resonates with any age, gender or sexual orientation. There were moments throughout the movie where I teared up because I was able to empathize with Simon and his struggles, and I usually don’t cry during movies.
I highly suggest that you go out and see the movie: not only will you get a laugh out of it, but you may realize how important it is to respect others and be kind. That can go a long way in affecting someone’s self-esteem.
“Love, Simon” comes out on March 16 in theaters nationwide.