By Staff Writer Ashni Mathuria
Love, Simon was directed by the openly gay Greg Berlanti with a bold vision: to make the first film that represents what the LGBTQ+ community goes through in high school. Over 110 minutes of clever humor, poignant moments, and empowering themes, the movie delivers admirably, creating a work of art relatable not just for queer people of all ages but also for people outside the LGBTQ+ community and driving home the message that we are all more similar than we might expect.
Based on the novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, the film steals the hearts of its viewers right off the bat. Simon Spier (Nick Robinson), the main character, breaks the fourth wall to frankly introduce himself as an ordinary teenager with ordinary friends, ordinary family, and one non-ordinary secret: Simon is gay.
At the beginning of the movie, Simon strikes up a romantic relationship over the Internet with a boy at his school known only by his online name “Blue.” Much of the plot revolves around Simon searching for the identity of the person he connects so strongly with.
However, his secret is threatened when he leaves his email open on a library computer; Simon spends the rest of the movie struggling to ensure that his online relationship and sexual orientation are not revealed to the school.
The soundtrack resonates with the ebbs and flows of the plot admirably, with both upbeat teenage anthems and stripped-down love ballads. The music, curated by Jack Antonoff, is made by star-studded roster of artists including Troye Sivan, Khalid, and Bleachers.
Love, Simon’s genuine dialogue and characters make the movie uncannily relatable for a teenage audience. Pop culture permeated the film; in particular, Simon’s obsession with Panic! At The Disco is key to several plot points.
In addition, the characters’ frequent witty jokes keep the audience laughing throughout the movie, helping to lighten the atmosphere of high school stress and anxiety.
The characters’ struggles easily strike a chord with the audience. Simon’s best friend Leah Burke (Katherine Langford) discusses feelings of loneliness and feeling like an outsider among her friends, while another friend, Abby Susu (Alexandra Shipp), reveals that she puts up a facade to hide her heartbreak and disillusionment with love after her parents’ divorce.
In addition to Simon’s key struggle of coming out to his family, he also runs the gamut of teenage emotion, from first love to fear of rejection to humiliation. These insights into the teenagers’ struggles are incredibly important: they normalize the LGBTQ+ characters by showing that their internal struggles are problems that all teenagers face. Love, Simon is not an LGBTQ+ movie — it is a teenage movie that happens to have an LGBTQ+ protagonist.
However, while the characters are easily relatable, many of them are not fully developed. This causes the main mystery of the plot, the identity of Blue, to seem weak, as the audience does not have enough information on all of the characters to speculate on Blue’s identity.
The plot is already stretched thinly enough between the titular character’s relationships, friendships, and struggle to come out; the lack of character development causes what could have been a gripping mystery to fall flat.
Despite this, the movie’s heart-wrenching moments and witty humor more than make up for its low points. Overall, Love, Simon provides an empowering and poignant story with realistic, human characters with whom teenagers can easily relate.
Photo by foxmovies.com