The movie we (I) have all been waiting for is now in theaters! Love, Simon is a romantic-comedy based on the young adult book Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. The titular character is a closeted gay boy with a loving family and close friends. Simon falls in love with a fellow closeted classmate with whom he exchanges anonymous emails, but while trying to find out the identity of his mysterious flame, he must also contend with a blackmailing classmate threatening to out him to the school.
Disclaimer: I have not yet read the book and so cannot comment on how the movie compares, but can I just say the original title is so much more cute and clever?
Watching this movie, I felt a strong sense of familiarity. I have watched this movie before many times over. Rom-com, check. Falling in love with an anon online, check. Someone threatening to reveal the main character’s identity, check check check. The plot follows many similar points as straight rom-coms before it, and that in itself is kind of revolutionary. That this can be considered as just another movie in a long line of rom-coms is indicative of the slow acceptance queer stories. Unfortunately, this does mean the story can feel a bit boring at times.
It is most definitely refreshing to have a queer movie that does not end in death and destruction, but a little more nuance would have been appreciated. Simon is surrounded by liberal friends and family who without a doubt would accept his coming out, a fact that he acknowledges in his narration. The homophobia depicted in the film was displayed strictly by two bullies, who eventually get the discipline they deserve. I would have liked the movie to explore the subtle homophobia that is more typically seen in real life, such as the jokes Simon’s dad tells.
The highlight of the movie were Simon’s coming out scenes. Despite him coming out many times to multiple people, the scenes always felt new and special, different based on his relationship to the other person. After the entire beginning of the movie with Simon keeping his distance from all his loved ones, this felt intimate and touching. Many tears were shed, and I am not referring to the characters in the movie.
All in all, this was a good and wholesome film. Even when the plot lacked originality, the charming cast, particularly Alexandra Shipp (Straight Outta Compton, X-Men) and Katherine Langford (Thirteen Reasons Why), was able to add that pizzaz that brought the movie to life. This is a great movie to watch if you want the warm and fuzzy feelings.
I give this movie:
4 out of 5 rainbows.
By the way, Leah on the Offbeat, the sequel to Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, is out April 24, 2018. This book follows Leah, Simon’s best friend, as she navigates her family life and her own bisexuality. Buy it at your local bookstore now!