I had the chance to see "Love, Simon" a week before its official release. "Love, Simon" follows a high school senior who has hidden the secret that he's gay from everyone until an anonymous post hits a social media platform.
The post explains how a closeted gay guy feels in everyday life, and Simon begins to secretly communicate with the faceless Blue who understands the exact way that being afraid to come out feels. The story continues to join Simon and his journey of coming out, while sharing the message that everyone deserves a great love story.
I was drawn to the charismatic trailers, wanting to see just how Simon navigated through a tough path to being able to show his full self. It was beyond my already very high expectations, and I'll tell you why.
1. The main character is gay.
We don't see enough positive representation of LGBTQ+ characters in popular and blockbuster films. Usually, if we do see these characters, they represent stereotypes and don't necessarily depict true life as an individual that identifies as part of the community. Simon deals with real issues, such as coming out to family and friends as well as navigating the murky waters of finding love in a heteronormative world.
2. Simon's coming out is realistic.
No spoilers, but in the reality of coming out, it is not one-size-fits-all. Some have extremely supportive friends. Others not so much. Some families have no issue with tolerance, and some great one's coming out as a secret to keep hidden. Simon and others deal with many of the situations that LGBTQ+ individuals face when they come out.
3. Simon blasts society's heteronormative views.
It's right there in the trailer. Simon explicitly says, "It doesn't seem fair that only gay people have to come out. Why is straight the default?" Yes, Simon. Yes. He's questioning anyone out there who believe that normal means straight. In reality, normal is highly overrated.
4. The soundtrack is sublime.
What more is there to say? It includes music from some awesome bands and artists that don't get all the recognition they deserve. What is even cooler? Some of the featured artists are part of the LGBTQ+ community.
5. It depicts the dos and don'ts of supporting someone who is coming out.
Sometimes, it takes just being there and saying you love the person. Sometimes, it's saying that it doesn't change a thing. Sometimes, we mess up and say the wrong thing, then we must apologize later. No matter what, letting that person know that you care for them can be more reassuring than anything else.
6. It gives attention to questioning your sexuality.
If you've ever learned anything about the sexuality spectrum and its fluidity, you'll know why I have only praise for the references to having a character question their own sexual preferences after seeing "Love, Simon." It seems as if more people are becoming comfortable with exploring feelings that they have toward people of genders that differ from their own.
7. Raw and real, it messes with your emotions.
I'm not going to hide it: I bawled like a baby. It takes so many real emotions that come with the process of coming out and has this way of making you feel them with the characters. For some people, coming out can sometimes be more accepted if their family and friends have always been inclusive. For others, coming out is terrifying.
Maybe their parents have always said derogatory terms when it comes to the LGBTQ+ community. Maybe they worry there will no longer be a bed at home for them. "Love, Simon" takes real-life situations, such as bullying and hate speech in addition to having someone out you, and the film puts it on display for all its viewers to feel.
It seems nearly impossible for someone to not walk out of the film without having opened a part of the heart up to Simon and real people just like him.
"Love, Simon" is a movie for a variety of ages. It can show the younger audience that even when everything goes wrong, it can still go right. It can teach tolerance and understanding. It can give insights to parents whose kids may or may not be secretly struggling with the same things. So many teenagers stop opening up to their parents in their adolescent years, and such as movie as this can show that many kids are fighting silent battles.
I am not saying that it is perfect, but it definitely has a lot of positive messages, and overall, it gives ideals we should strive for as a society and as individuals.
Go! Buy your ticket now if you haven't already. And when you see it, really immerse yourself into the storyline. You may learn something, and you may end up surprising yourself.