Love, Simon breaks teen romance movie stereotypes


Erin Grier

Love, Simon puts a refreshing spin on the familiar high school romance movie formula by elevating warmth and humor, while also conveying an empowering message to its teen audience.

Erin Grier, Reporter, Photographer

Warning: Spoilers!!

Love, Simon, the movie adaptation of the critically acclaimed young adult fiction novel Simon vs the Homosapiens Agenda, made its debut on Friday, March 16. The long awaited film stars Nick Robinson as sixteen year old Simon Spier, a not-so-openly-gay musical theater enthusiast, caught in a complicated blackmail situation. The first major-studio-backed romantic comedy with a gay teen protagonist, Love, Simon proves groundbreaking and highly inspiring.

The film realistically portrays teen life through Simon, the unsurprisingly relatable title character. In the opening moments of the film, he claims that he lives “a totally, perfectly normal life,” save for an enormous underlying secret: He’s gay. Simon struggles to come to terms with his sexuality and come out to his friends and family. When another boy at his school comes out under the pseudonym “Blue” via a gossip blog, his bravery inspires Simon, who takes a risk and reaches out to him under the alias “Jacques.”

Jacques and Blue begin to exchange encouraging emails and open up to each other about topics they would not share with anyone else. Simon jeopardizes their relationship when he leaves his emails open on a computer in the library for an obnoxious classmate to find and screenshot. Suddenly, Simon finds himself entangled in a confusing web of lies that threatens his relationship with his friends and his privacy.

Throughout the movie, Simon tries to piece together Blue’s identity. This climactic and suspenseful element of the film keeps the audience on the edge of their seats.

The pop culture references and the ubiquitous ads that plagued Snapchat and YouTube leading up to its release made it clear that Love, Simon targeted teens, but it gracefully integrates modern elements of society while remaining funny and relatable.

The film offers a strong anti-bullying message and stresses the importance of self-acceptance. While Simon’s problems may seem more pressing, the writers still took the time to create dynamic supporting characters. Every character deals with an internal conflict, a haunting past, or a huge secret.

The coming-of-age coming out drama may not seem edgymovies and TV shows centered on same-sex relationships appear mainstream latelybut Love, Simon normalizes this theme and emphasizes the monumental nature of coming out. The audience will gain a much needed understanding of the difficult process of coming out. Unlike other teens who struggle with coming out, Simon knows his parents will accept him. The film fails to recognize what it feels like to when parents do not agree with their child’s sexuality.

Despite the slight idealization of coming out, Love, Simon encourages all teens- regardless of their sexual orientationto embrace what makes them unique and live their truths.

The Chant’s Grade: A-