There are some movies that you watch, and you can’t help but wish that you had them as a teenager when you were still figuring yourself out. Maybe because you couldn’t see yourself on the screen while everyone around you did or even that you just felt alone and wished someone would make a movie that showed exactly how you felt. That is precisely what I felt while sitting down and watching Love, Simon. Just writing about it now makes me emotional. Not because I am still feeling that way, even if sometimes I do wish more was being done regarding representation for the LGBTQ+ community in movies. But because for the first time I saw a big budget movie that is distributed by a big studio and directed by one of the biggest producers in television right now (himself a gay man) do a story that as a teenager I needed.
I am 100% confident in saying that Love, Simon will save lives. Growing up, love stories on screen were only between a man and a woman. If they weren’t, they almost never had a happy ending, or they were shitty movies. Sure, we’ve made progress. Films like Moonlight and Carol or even this years Call Me By Your Name have been praised and made their way to the Academy Awards, but they are still the exception. But even those two movies weren’t aimed at the same demographic. Love, Simon can be as big as The Fault Is In Our Stars. A film targeted towards teenagers, towards young adults who love the type of love stories that this movie promises. The only difference is that this time it’s between two teenage boys. And I am so happy to see that happening.
I always described being a closeted lesbian by saying that my whole life before coming out I had a big invisible rock on my shoulders that even I didn’t know was there. That this rock was making it difficult to breathe. When that rock disappeared when I finally told my mother and father that I was gay, I was finally able to breathe properly for the first time in forever. For the first time, I was free from the burden that I had been put on my shoulder by society. In one of the more emotional scenes of the movie, Simon’s mom played brilliantly by Jennifer Garner, tells him that she could feel that he had been holding his breath for a long time. And that now that he had finally told her the truth, he could finally breathe and be his whole self for the first time. With this moment alone, Love, Simon was able to do more than any movies that I watched as a kid. It was the first time where the feelings I had growing up were validated and not made fun of.
Love, Simon is a wonderful coming of age story that uses its hard subject and yet is also very heartful and funny. A very solid Tony Hale will make you laugh every time he is on screen, a charismatic Josh Duhamel and Jennifer Garner will make you smile at the supportive parents who love their kids, but the movie belongs to Nick Robinson. As someone who didn’t really care for his character in Jurrasic World, I didn’t expect anything from his performance. But Robinson delivered one of the most charismatic performance and believable performance that I have seen in a very long time. He was able to make me laugh at the awkwardness of a closeted Simon who didn’t want his secret getting out. He was able to make me smile at a hopeful Simon who thought he had figured out who Blue was. He made me cry at an emotional Simon who has a heart to heart with both his parents. But he really brought it home when he confronted the one who outed him to the whole school, the guy who had been blackmailing him for months. In just a few sentences, Robinson was able to put so much emotion in his words that he brought me to tears and made me feel all the anger he was feeling in a way that stayed with me.
Before seeing the movie, I had decided to read the book it is based upon, Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda and so it was no surprise to me when it was revealed who Blue was at the end of the movie. But it was nice hearing all around me people realizing who Blue was and their reaction to all the cuteness that was happening in front of our eyes. Never had I been able to see people react like that to an LGBTQ+ movie, it was something that I didn’t know I needed but when it happened, I couldn’t help but get a little choked up. It is something beautiful to be able to see a movie that reflects so much of how you felt as a teen and see so many people react to it positively.
Everyone deserves a great love story, that’s what this move tells us and shows us. Hopefully, this is the first one of many that do so. Love, Simon is a heartfelt movie that will help teenagers that are still trying to figure themselves out and make them understand that it does get better.