Review: ‘Love, Simon’ delivers an overdue message of love, acceptance, courage

Posted on Apr 18 2018 - 5:31am by Brock Huerkamp

High school romantic comedies have been a tired and overdone genre for decades. A film has been desperately needed to come and breathe new life, authenticity and heart into this godforsaken space.

“Love, Simon” does just that.

Simon has the perfect life. He has a great family, amazing friends and good grades. There’s just one thing: Simon is gay and struggling to come out to the world.

However, Simon’s life comes to a complete halt when an anonymous writer posts to the school’s “Gossip Girl”-style website and announces that he, too, is gay. Simon is immediately enamored, both identifying with the mysterious “Blue” and longing to find someone like him in his hometown.

As Simon corresponds with Blue, detailing growing up knowing he was gay and slowly putting together the pieces of Blue’s identity, he finds the safety of his own secret threatened.

This movie tackles the tried-and-true genre of coming-of-age stories by implanting a timely and important topic into the center: a high school boy struggling to come out.

What sets “Love, Simon” apart from other gay films in the last few years, such as “Call Me by Your Name,” is its attention to the sole issue of coming out, not the journey of discovering one’s sexuality.

Simon already knows that he is gay, which the movie briefly explains in a hilarious montage and leaves it at that. No other mention of it comes up for the rest of the movie.

Even more importantly, the movie handles Simon’s coming out perfectly, making necessary points to the audience along the way: the unfairness that only non-straight individuals have to “come out,” that many times people are forced to come out, and the desire to just “ride out” the secret until it gets easier and the intricacies of the possible repercussions that coming out presents.

However, the movie never preaches to the audience. It presents these ideas and points through the characters’ dialogue, voiceover and the actors’ expert performances.

“Love, Simon” is both a movie with a message and so much more at the same time. It is a hilarious, heartwarming and endearing movie that moves you in the deepest parts of your soul. It manages to pull empathy from the audience, something that even expert filmmakers struggle with at times.

It is not a movie that sits you down and screams a message at you. It takes you on a journey, a metaphorical Ferris wheel ride, that lets the audience find the message in the story and characters.

It doesn’t tell you – it shows you. It makes you feel what Simon feels. It makes you identify and experience, something that could potentially change an audience member’s understanding of what it means to be gay.

Although Simon is extremely privileged – he comes from white suburbia, has amazing friends, ultra-liberal parents, a storybook sister and is relatively popular – the movie manages to prove a very important point.

Even when everything is perfect and the repercussions aren’t that drastic, the pressure of holding onto such a big secret can feel like the end of the world, especially when it all comes out – pun intended. It’s a very teenage theme. Many people, gay or not, feel that, and the movie makes you experience it with Simon, which is what makes the ending feel entirely deserved.

“Love, Simon” is a triumph – it’s as simple as that. It is a landmark film, showing that movies with lead characters who are gay and exclusively about the gay experience are acceptable and, most importantly, necessary.