Inspired by the Young Adult novel ‘Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda’ written by Becky Albertalli, ‘Love, Simon’ explores the story of Simon Spier, a closet teenager who begins to fall in love with a boy, named Blue, online, all the while forced to deal with someone who threatens to reveal his secret. Famous for his superhero productions, Greg Berlanti’s newest film, ‘Love, Simon’, has debuted to thunderous applause.
Why is this so remarkable, you may ask? In addition to being one of the coolest romantic comedies of the year, ‘Love, Simon’ is also headlined as the first mainstream film to focus on a teenage LGBTQ+ love story. While other LGBTQ+ centered films like Call Me By Your Name, Moonlight, and Carol has received critical acclaim and Oscar-worthy attention, these movies are usually labeled as “art house films” or movies typically produced by independent studios for niche audiences.
Furthermore, art house films are usually shown at independent theaters, like The Angelika, in more cosmopolitan areas like New York or Los Angeles, limiting the number of people who can access the film. ‘Love, Simon’, was marketed by 20th Century Fox studios as a film for the mainstream, which increased the net of available theaters who can expose the film to wider audiences.
This film presents much-needed representation for a long-neglected audience. Every year, more films and television shows are produced, portraying heteronormative romances, and simultaneously positioning straight, cisgender characters as the “norm.” By doing this, LGBTQ+ characters and narratives are pushed to the sidelines, often falling into problematic and overused tropes such as the GBF, Gay Best Friend, a character created to support the straight lead without expressing their own agency or personal interests.
In metaphorical terms, the proportion of heterosexual narratives to queer ones is like comparing a large, well-stocked buffet table to food scraps, and burnt ones at that. ‘Love, Simon’ instead centers a gay character as the central lead, retaining his own narrative, rather than acting as an extension of someone else’s story, a lackey to a straight character. Simon is able to express his full emotions and desires, both those based on his sexuality and more.
In addition, the film has already produced incredible real-life repercussions. Several openly LGBTQ+ celebrities, such as Neil Patrick Harris and Matt Bomer, have bought out Movie Theater screenings in their hometowns, so that financially impaired kids, especially queer kids, could access the film.
Many queer celebrities have vocalized the importance of this film, expressing that they wished this type of movie had been around when figuring out or learning to accept their own sexualities. If that wasn’t enough, several young people have expressed online how the film inspired them to come out to their own friends and family, including Keiyan Lonsdale, one of the central characters within the film who came out as a result of filming ‘Love, Simon’.
‘Love, Simon’ essentially centers on the need for happy LGBTQ+ narratives for younger audiences, saying that everyone, straight or queer, “deserves a great love story.”