It’s impossible not to love ‘Love, Simon’

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It’s impossible not to love ‘Love, Simon’

Nathan Stevens

Going into the theater, I didn’t expect much out of “Love, Simon.” The movie had been all over social media, advertised as a progressive rom-com about a closeted gay high school student. It looked generic. It wasn’t trying to be anything special. But it was.

“Love, Simon” isn’t a movie trying to make a statement or pave ground for equality. While those movies are amazing in their own way, they serve a purpose besides entertainment. This movie stars the amazingly talented (and straight) Nick Robinson, who played Simon Spier, a closeted high school student.

The film, which starts off more like a mystery than a love story, managed to capture my attention and keep me guessing until the final scene. He spends the majority of the film trying to discover the identity of “Blue,” — the anonymous student he’s been emailing and eventually develops feelings for.

But “Love, Simon” isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. For every cute and lighthearted scene about young love, there are equally powerful moments of sadness and frustration, some of which plunged the theater into a hair-raising silence.

What made “Love, Simon” special to me wasn’t the fantastic story or the great acting, it was something not as easily noticeable. Throughout watching it, there was a part of me that felt a different kind of connection to the characters than I was used to, specifically with the main character, Simon. It wasn’t until I was walking out of the theater that I realized why this was different.

Simon was just like me.

Obviously there are differences between Simon and I, but for the first time in my life, I saw a Hollywood actor trying to portray someone like me. I hear about representation all the time, and as a white male, it’s hard to complain about any lack of representation — I see characters that look like me everywhere. But I had never seen a character that truly felt like me.

I went through some of the exact same situations as Simon — coming out, crushing on a friend, trying to ask if they’re straight. I can’t say that about any other character. T

There’s a certain feeling you get when you know you’re not alone, that indescribable sense of warmth that we experience so rarely nowadays. “Love, Simon” brought out that feeling in me over and over, in a way I had never truly felt before.
It didn’t click with me until a few days later — that’s what real, accurate representation is supposed to do.

I’ve seen romantic movies before, and I’ve seen movies starring gay characters before. But, all those films were completely centered around the fact that the star was gay. They were gay movies. But “Love, Simon,” while still focusing on his sexaulity, treats Simon like any other character and gives him a real identity. Simon is gay. But he’s also a high school student, an actor, a brother, a good friend — he’s so much more than his sexaulity.

That is why this movie was, to me, more groundbreaking than other more mainstream or innovative films like “Moonlight” or “Call me by your name” — simply because it set a new normal with a rare happy ending for the gay protagonist. While those other movies definitely made an impact in the film industry’s acceptance of LGBTQ+ characters, “Love, Simon” goes leaps and bounds above those films by incorporating a young gay character seamlessly into a movie that could just as easily worked with an entirely straight cast.

This is the first major film I have heard of to be so profoundly progressive while also not being anything special at all. At its heart, “Love, Simon” is a teenage love story with ups and downs, with moments of beautiful connection and heartbreaking betrayal, and yes, with a gay main character.

If you’re even considering watching this movie, I highly recommend doing so. It does a marvelous job at showcasing the raw emotions of young love and putting them in a light that everyone, gay or straight, can appreciate. While I can’t personally say I’ve ever been in love, I came pretty close to loving this movie. So if you need me, there’s a good chance I’ll be at the Saratoga AMC watching “Love, Simon” for the second, or maybe twentieth time.