Written by Amber Jackson
This uplifting coming-of-age story perfectly illustrates the importance of having mainstream films that focus on LGBTQ+ storylines. Filled with warmth and wit, the film follows Simon Spier (Nick Robinson), a teenage boy who is secretly trying to come to terms with his sexuality, whilst having an anonymous email conversation with another gay teen at his school who goes by the alias “Blue.” As Simon begins to feel more drawn to Blue, he begins to question which guy at school Blue could be, which leads to comedic confrontations and an incredibly heart-warming story.
Written by Elizabeth Berger and Isaac Aptaker, the message of the film is clear; Simon is just like everybody else. The screenplay delves into situations that any audience member – regardless of sexual orientation – can relate to, with the added cheese factor needed to make a cute teen romcom. Being bisexual, I found myself wishing that I’d had access to this film when I was fourteen and that my friends and family had too. The script has great understanding and compassion as to what coming out can be like and this goes to show that, as language and education on these matters develop, so does understanding and acceptance.
As the film progresses, the audience is shown that every character is more than they portray themselves to be on the surface. We get to see the motivation behind their actions; often completed out of fear or ignorance. Most importantly, Simon’s character doesn’t fit in with the stereotypical image of somebody who is gay. He has so many other aspects to his identity and grows to learn that there is no such thing as an ‘average’ person, rather that he is an individual who just so happens to be gay; highlighting the importance of diversity.
However, there has been some debate as to the credibility of Simon’s coming out experience, claiming that it wasn’t a realistic portrayal of what it’s like. To an extent, I agree. My friends and I found ourselves jealous of the overly positive response that he received after he came out to the people closest in his life. But this film doesn’t over-glamourize Simon’s coming out experience, instead placing the focus on how to support someone that is in the process of coming out. The personal struggles of Simon’s friends and family members were shown too, and this film tenderly shows them growing to understand Simon’s coming out journey, which ultimately strengthens their relationships. Every individual’s coming out is an entirely different experience. It could be positive, negative, or completely nonchalant, but none of these are less valid than the other.
Watching this in a full cinema screening was wonderful. The atmosphere was electric, you could feel the room going through this journey with Simon and empathising completely. It meant that the response to the film was incredibly interactive. People were gasping out loud, crying with sympathy and/or with understanding, and even applauding throughout the film – myself included. It added to the comedic elements of the film, as well as demonstrating the hardships of those going through the sad moments. Ultimately, seeing teenagers sat with their parents, groups of friends and couples all sat together was heart-warming. It gave me more hope than I had as a teenager. It showed me that representative and relatable content like this is paramount within the film industry; its 12A rating invites everyone to see an all-inclusive film that is incredibly sweet and has a happy ending.
Love, Simon is out in cinemas now and is based on the novel ‘Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda’ by Becky Albertalli. I strongly encourage you to check them out.