Let’s get this straight. Love, Simon isn’t the first and won’t be the last teen romance film but, it is the first to feature a lead character who is gay and that’s where this teen romance is breaking barriers.
The film is an adaptation of Becky Albertalli’s novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda with the screenplay by This Is Us writers Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger. Directed by Greg Berlanti and produced by the makers of basically all of our favourite film adaptations from Twilight, Maze Runner, The Fault in our Stars and Paper Towns, Love, Simon brags a host of applaudable filmmakers and a highly commendable cast.
Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) comes from a loving home living with his mother Emily (Jennifer Garner), father Jack (Josh Duhamel), and younger sister Nora (Talitha Bateman). He has a close-knit group of friends that drink way too much Iced Coffee, Leah (Katherine Langford) and Nick (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.) who are the two best friends he’s grown up with and Abby (Alexandra Shipp) who he has known for the last six months but, he has one “big-ass” secret that nobody knows – he’s gay.
Skip to the story… Simon becomes acquainted with Blue (we won’t tell you who that is) via e-mail, a student at his high school who has recently come out as gay anonymously. The pair exchange a number of e-mails and open up to each other in a way they’ve never done so honestly before despite not knowing each other by face. They begin inspiring one another to be their true selves, whilst falling in love for the first time.
Everything is going comfortably well until a classmate Martin (Logan Miller) screenshots Simon’s e-mails between Blue and threatens to tell his secret if he doesn’t hook Martin up with his best-friend Abby. To his dismay, Simon tries to discreetly convince Abby to date Martin in a bid to protect his secret which goes to plan before Martin asks Abby out during a football game and gets rejected in front of the entire school. Martin then seeks revenge on Simon out of humiliation by leaking his e-mails, tearing Simon’s world upside down.
All is revealed, the lengths Simon went to, to keep his secret safe, ultimately breaking up his friendships and communication with Blue. Everything seems to be falling apart and Simon comes out to his parents but doesn’t get the support he deserves right away, although they soon come around and express their never-ending love for their son.
After disaster strikes, its time to get back up which is exactly what Simon does. He makes mends with his friends, and finds confidence to openly be who he is, declaring his love for Blue in a heartfelt ending which we won’t ruin for you.
Now, the best thing about Love, Simon is it steers away from the stereotypical, feminine, gay individual, raises the question ‘why do only gay people have to come out?’ and is far from the soppy teen love story we’ve seen countless times before. Simon is just an average teen, with an average group of friends, living an average life so why does the one difference between him and his close circle change everything? Exactly, it doesn’t. And it shouldn’t.
The most accepting moment in the film is when Simon comes out to Abby and she doesn’t have a reaction he’s expecting. In fact, she doesn’t have a reaction at all. It’s powerful and simple. And this specific scene will inspire those of us not in the LGBTQ community to be more accepting of individuals if they trust us with a part of their true identity. It’s a big thing after all.
A scene which had us crying a river was when Jack, Simon’s father got emotional apologising to Simon for not being aware of Simon’s identity for so long. We won’t spoil it for you too much, but it’s definitely a moment you need to get your tissues ready for.
But overall, Love, Simon is comical, inspiring, relatable, romantic and real. The representation of each character is on point. It’s a rom-com that is SO appropriate in this day and age, well overdue to be fair. It’s life-changing for every audience member and will soon become a classic love story.
Love, Simon hits UK cinemas 6th April, 2018.
By Simran Seehra