The world of movies is rapidly expanding. There is diversity all around us, and in the past, movies and television have not done a good job of reflecting this diversity. In a study conducted by USC analyzing 900 popular films from 2007-2016, LBGTQ+ characters represented only 1.1% of characters with speaking parts. In addition to that, the study found that characters of underrepresented racial or ethnic groups only made up 29.2% of characters in the top-grossing films of 2016. “Love, Simon” is a movie that breaks this mold. “Love, Simon” is a film adapted from the book Simon vs. the Homosapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli. The movie is centered around a high school student named Simon who is gay and closeted. While this movie does an amazing job of casting a spotlight on a young LGBTQ+ teen and highlighting his struggles with coming out, I think that the movie cheated itself out of fully communicating its message as a result of underdeveloped relationships and a few awkward scenes that make you cringe rather than squeal with joy.
In brief summary, Simon is closeted and struggles with coming to terms with his own sexuality. This changes when an anonymous user named “Blue” opens up about his sexuality on an anonymous school forum. Simon decides to send “Blue” a message and reveal that he is hiding the same secret. Throughout the movie, Simon deals with blackmail, homophobia, and ignorance, but he still finds love and acceptance from those around him.
I think that this movie is greatly important in breaking a barrier in film by featuring a gay main character. “Love, Simon” does an amazing job of showing the difficulty of coming out and accepting yourself, and I think that other movies in the future should also follow this narrative in order to finally have proper LGBTQ+ representation on the big screen. According to GLAAD, 18.4% of films from major studios in 2016 featured identifiably LGBTQ+ characters. This percentage has been on the rise in the past years, and “Love, Simon” has played a role in this increase.
“Love, Simon” has brought in $33 million dollars since it has been released on March 18, according to IMDb, and the film has been widely enjoyed by a large audience, having received high ratings from movie critique sites like Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.
Despite this, I feel like the movie fell a little flat, especially when it came to the relationships. Most importantly, Simon’s relationship with Bram, better known as “Blue”, which was easily the most anticipated relationship in the movie, felt distant and undeveloped. This is in part because Bram was introduced so early in the movie, and by the time Simon meets with him on the Ferris Wheel, he seems like a distant character that you don’t really remember.
In addition to this lack of chemistry, I would say that one of my least favorite scenes in the whole movie is the Ferris wheel scene, unfortunately. Before Simon got on the wheel, he had a whole crowd of his classmates gathered around him. They, like him, were also waiting to find out “Blue’s” true identity. The crowd that is present during the scene takes away from the intimacy of the very next scene, which was when Bram and Simon were at the top of the wheel. No matter how amazing that part was, it was hard to forget about the crowd down at the bottom watching the new couple, and it’s difficult not to cringe a little thinking about it.
Overall, I think that despite its flaws, “Love, Simon” is an absolutely beautiful movie that shows both the highs and lows of living as an LGBTQ+ teen. It features a very diverse cast, it shares an emotional and uplifting story to its audience, and most importantly of all, it sends out a strong message about representation and acceptance, both in Hollywood and in everyday life.
Kaylee Kirkwood, Editor in Chief