For some of my overseas readers, Love, Simon will be old news. That being said, I doubt a movie like this will be slipping the minds of its mainstream audience any time soon. Greg Berlanti’s new teen drama, a film adaptation of Becky Albertalli’s Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, has had Twitter raving since it’s American theatre release. Well, world, now it’s my turn.
Listen: I work in a film store. Every shift, I have customers dishing out gossip on the hottest trends in cinema. Love, Simon has been on my radar for months. That being said, I am also more than accustomed to the devastation of being pitifully underwhelmed. Baby Driver; Blade Runner; Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: all three came with raving reviews, and all three bitterly disappointed. I was hoping, praying, that Love, Simon would not fall into this category of anticlimaxes.
As it would happen, my prayers were answered. I sit here at midnight, having just witnessed an immediate classic. Love, Simon is perhaps the only film of late to have completely lived up to, if not surpassed, the heaps of positive critique it has received. I had braced myself for a cheesy, campy high school flic stuffed with gay stereotypes and borderline offensive humour; what I got was, in fact, a masterpiece. Sensitive and highly aesthetic, I got vibes from the movie which I can only describe as Perks of Being a Wallflower mashed with 13 Reasons Why – the latter may well be due to the knockout cast, which includes the hit Netflix drama’s Katherine Langford and Miles Heizer. I laughed. I cried. I cried some more. For me, the film was the closest thing to perfection that modern cinema has to offer. It is, quite simply, stunning.
Then again, perhaps I’m biased. I am, lest we forget, a teenage lesbian about to embark on the terrifying ordeal that is adulthood. Hmm, to be honest with you, I think that just emphasises the importance of this movie. Here’s what I think: in a world where the media provides young people with the knowledge and skills they need to progress as human beings, to learn about themselves and develop into fully functioning members of society, people of ‘diverse’ backgrounds are at a severe disadvantage. Whilst my heterosexual peers had their George Clooneys and Sandra Bullocks to guide them through adolescence, I found myself floating in space with no – or, at least, very few – role models to latch onto. Nobody to look at and think: “I could be like that one day”. Nothing to assure me that I was “normal”, that I wasn’t as alone as I felt. Love, Simon is just one step in the direction of change. The beautifully diverse and multicultural representation within this film, much like in Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name, is so empowering; even more so is the incredible reception that it has received by mainstream society. All it takes is a leap of faith, just as Simon made, to make people listen. To show the world that love is beautiful no matter who it is between.
Is the movie flawless? No, of course not. The plot, as heartwarming as it was, was a tad predictable, and the plot-twist department left a little to be desired. But you know what? I don’t care. Watching Love, Simon with three of my best friends, I was transported back to a time when things were much less simple. Coming out is never easy. As Nick Robinson perfectly portrays, the fear of your entire life being turned on its head can be crippling; what’s worse is when the control you have over your life is taken from you completely. To be outed is to have the safety net snatched from beneath your falling body. If you’re lucky, you’ll emerge with a few scrapes and bruises here and there. If you’re not, it could scar you for life. That raw agony was so precisely depicted by Robinson and the production crew that it brought the four of us to tears (in my case, hopeless tears which lasted for the remainder of the film). I can’t tell you enough how important it is to have this devastating truth showcased to the world. For me, watching it on the big screen was a therapeutic experience which allowed me to process the trauma that I have carried on my shoulders for over two years. For other members of the audience, it was a wakeup call. These things happen. They’re real, and they’re so damaging. It’s about time they stopped, don’t you think?
I don’t want to spoil a second of this film for anybody, so I’m going to leave you with a thought. Could films like Love, Simon change the way the world views diversity? I wonder what the world would be like if LGBTQ+ representation became a normality in the mainstream media.
Stay woke, kids.
As always, thank you so much for reading!
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Want more? Read my review of Netflix’s ’13 Reasons Why’ here.