Warning: this blog contains spoilers
“Who you are to the world is pretty terrifying because what if the world doesn’t like you?” - Simon Spear
I grew up on the brink of the 21st Century where the film and TV industry was dominated by heteronormative ideals; occasionally though, an LGBT film slipped into the mix. I passionately believe that these snippets of LGBT representation, while growing up, were one of the few reasons I decided to accept myself and come out. Love, Simon instantly had me hooked with its light-hearted humour, realistic representations, and fitting soundtrack - simply describing it as ‘feel-good’ doesn’t quite do it justice.
Growing up, you could say that I struggled with my sexuality, from realisation, to self-acceptance, to eventually coming out. It’s not difficult to imagine how thrilled I was when a trailer about a gay teenager dealing with his sexuality was released. I was even more thrilled after the credits rolled having just watched a beautiful performance; despite being slightly longer than the average film, Love, Simon captured every moment elegantly.
Without spoiling too much, Simon keeps his secret in fear of everyone changing their opinion of him, though he doesn’t appear ashamed or upset by his own sexuality. He is on the verge of graduating and dreams about ‘college life’ where he can embrace himself without the innate fear of people’s views. Throughout the film, it’s clear that Simon wants to come out on his own terms; however, this is taken away when he is blackmailed by another student who publishes Simon’s anonymous email conversation with another character, ‘Blue’. Simon gradually falls in love with Blue’s personality over the course of the film, despite having never spoken to Blue in the offline world. While this is somewhat unrealistic, it completely works as both boys are closeted in real life, so opening up to one another anonymously allows them to feel safe. I firmly believe that this is one of the many reasons the film worked so well.
Instead of focusing on Simon, I wanted to discuss the conversation he had with his mother, Emily, whose response to him coming out was strikingly similar to my own experience. Emily says to Simon: “When you were little, you were so carefree. But these last few years, more and more, it’s almost like I can feel you holding your breath.”; again, this bares strong resemblance to my own mums’s words.
Mums always know.
Simon’s father initially accepted his son’s sexuality but was slightly shocked - in a later scene we see the pair having a heart-to-heart where Jack apologises for all the distasteful jokes he made in the past. As mentioned in a previous article, my dad slowly became my best friend after I came out and apologised for his own past jokes but, like Simon, I was completely understanding.
In the end, I was thoroughly satisfied with Love, Simon. It is not often Hollywood create an accurate LGBT film with a positive ending, almost like they’re predisposed to kill off or ignore queer characters. Love, Simon challenges these unwritten rules, adapting the well-known ‘boy-meets-girl’ concept into modern society, moving audiences both young and old. Not only does Simon find love, he deals with the trials and tribulations of being a teenager along the way. Had a film like this been out when I was younger, maybe I would’ve felt more comfortable with myself due to the normalisation of homosexuality.
Love, Simon is out across UK cinemas right now, if you haven’t already seen it - what the hell are you waiting for?