By James Mercadante
The shunned, tucked away film that Hollywood has declined to produce for so long — a film that introduces a LGBTQ+ character at the center of a love story and deviates from complying with the stereotypes of a “gay movie” — finally hit theaters on March 16.
Based on Becky Albertalli’s 2015 novel, “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda,” “Love, Simon” is a coming-of-age story about Simon Spier, a student who struggles to come to terms with his closeted sexuality, and is willing to do whatever it takes to not be outed by another student who knows about his attraction to men.
The film proves to be significant for several reasons, including the representation it provides.
The cast of the film is diverse, as half of Simon’s friends are people of color, which gives a more authentic presentation, as they promote variety and equal opportunity to be on the screen.
The movie also focuses on giving more LGBTQ+ representation, as gay audiences rarely have a chance to witness a love story that represents them. The film successfully normalizes LGBTQ+ romance for those who do not identify with the community.
“Love, Simon” diverts from being classified as a “gay movie,” as the film appeals to all audiences. Simon, portrayed by Nick Robinson, is a flawed, quirky and hilarious character that many people can relate to.
The movie encourages audience members to connect with Simon by including issues in the plot that nearly anyone can relate to. Simon fears he will no longer be liked due to who he truly is, and feels alienated from his peers. Anyone, regardless of their sexuality or gender, can relate to the universal and constant search for genuine human connection.
The film contains other authentic and applicable elements, like family.
Jennifer Garner, who portrays Simon’s mother, conveys a raw performance as a nurturing parent who feels the pain of her child, who is grappling with his seuxal identity. She steals the whole movie in one scene in which she articulates to her son that he is beautiful and is worthy of love — something every child should hear from their parent.
The audience was tremendously vocal in their reactions to the movie, as people loudly cheered for the romance and shed tears for Simon’s pain.
Children, especially those of the LGBTQ+ community, are going to be taking their parents to see this film because of its potential to open up minds of people who are not familiar with the idea of homosexuality.
The movie normalizes homosexual romance and provides a happy ending for those who have doubts — which gives hope to anyone who can relate to Simon’s story and fears to share their true identity with the public.
“Love, Simon” is definitely worth going to see in theaters. The appealing and emotional film may not be Academy Award material, but it captures difficult adolescent moments, and it’s definitely something Hollywood needed.