Why Movies Like "Love, Simon" Are Important

STORY BY: EDDIE INFANTE

“Love, Simon” is a coming of age movie based on Becky Albertalli’s novel “Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda.” It features Nick Robinson’s character, “Simon”, who has to learn how to be confident with himself and comfortable enough with others so that he can come out as gay.

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I initially saw the trailer for it back in November and after several months of being constantly bombarded with ads, I was convinced that I had to go see it. So, on opening day I decided to see a matinee showing and I was left with some remarks that I wanted to share (fair warning, this post contains spoilers.)

As an openly gay man, especially given our political climate, I was hesitant to hear that a movie like “Love, Simon” was going to be released because I was scared that there would be misdirection. By misdirection, I mean that the trend in Hollywood productions is to create queer films that are either very sad with a big antagonist, overly sexualized, or playing to outdated stereotypes.  But I was pleasantly surprised that it was a genuinely corny coming-of-age love story that had queer identifying characters. While it did have a few sad scenes, there was no sad ending like the one in “Call Me By Your Name” and it was refreshing to see. Not every queer film has to have a sad ending to make an impact.

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The scenes and language in the movie felt genuine too. There was a particular scene where Jennifer Garner’s character talked about how carefree Simon was but that over these past few years she could almost “feel like he was holding his breath” and that now “he can finally breathe again” (in reference to him coming out.)

I personally remember that feeling years ago when I started to try and come to terms with my own sexuality, but I was still scared of being judged, so I intentionally reserved myself. I had started to overanalyze how I walked, talked and even how I dressed because I didn’t want people to assume anything about me. I think that behavior was something that I always struggled to explain but the movie did a great job of portraying it in a way that straight people could understand as well. The movie even joked about the idea that “why do only gay people have to come out and straight people don’t.”

I got really emotional thinking how this movie personally reflected a lot of the same experiences I’ve had in coming out, because a part of my identity and experiences were finally being represented and validated in popular media. This movie is a great catalyst to start a conversation for people considering coming out, whether that be to themselves or their families and friends. It has even enabled one of the actors in the movie, Keiynan Lonsdale, to publicly come out as well.

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“Love, Simon” is important because it so expertly portrays the process of coming out and some of the trials and tribulations that entails, and discusses it in a way that even straight or close-minded people could begin to understand.

 

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