By Anthony Peyton, Edited by Olivia Norwood
It’s an undeniable fact that ‘Love, Simon’ hit the classic closeted high school student’s coming out story with a variety of twists and a cycle of failed love interests that anyone can relate to, gay or straight.
Located in a Georgia neighborhood where Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) lives, – and most people in the real world wish they lived – he and his group of the most ideal best friends one could ever have, including a soccer player, a grunge fanatic, and a gorgeous theatre newbie, make their way through life living as millennial and liberally as they could manage. Which, debating on who you know, those terms have become practically synonymous with each other. Not usually in Georgia, I’ll admit.
No southern pride, no stereotypical racism, basically nothing that could, in any way, prove that they live in the heart of Georgia. Unless you paid attention to the one time that patriarch Jack Spier (Josh Duhamel) wore a Georgia t-shirt, you would think they live in the suburbs of California.
Maybe that was intentional on director Greg Burlanti’s part for not wanting southern habits and stereotypes influencing the movie and its story. Or it wasn’t intentional and Burleski simply thought the story didn’t need it. Either way, that’s one negative statement that ‘Love, Simon’ avoided at all costs.
That didn’t stop the negativity from drizzling on in through other reviews stating just how ordinary Simon’s story is. Or, in Daniel D’addario’s TIME Magazine article, he questions whether or not YA audiences need this movie because “there’s no reason that the first gay romantic comedy…necessarily needed to look so much like the pat, flat rom-coms with which today’s teens are barely familiar.”
‘Love, Simon’ is anything but ordinary. Sure, he may be from a cookie cutter white family living in a cookie cutter white neighborhood (except for the four or five ethnic people we see throughout the film, three of which just so happen to be leads in the film) and going to a cookie cutter high school, but that may be exactly what makes the movie unique.
I mean, It’s an LGBT movie where the protagonist is a closeted white teen boy whose best friends consist of a white girl, a black male, a black female, and to further it even more, Simon has a black love interest. If you ask me, that’s exactly the kind of unordinary that society wishes actually was ordinary.
That’s the definition of what we need, Mr. Journalist-Who-Wants-To-Cause-Problems.
Simon invites us into a cringey, tragic, but altogether fulfilling story of the most modern way of falling in love with someone – through the internet. He professes his love for his anonymous Romeo weeks before he actually knew who it was. Only Simon would be lucky enough that who it actually was – no spoilers, I swear – was attractive and not some 40 year old white guy typing anonymously to the cute teen from his computer.
I’ve got to say that it sure does help that the entire school just so happens to religiously follow the same blog, CreekSecrets, named after their Californian high school (Sorry! I meant Georgian*). This is a blog where everyone posts just about every fragment of gossip they hear around school in a day and – as if this didn’t already feel like high school enough – everyone believes everything.
This here may be the second reason that this movie is so remarkably the opposite of ordinary. It hypes up the teen life so much that it makes you cringe in your seat knowing that teenagers actually act like this.
It should be emphasized that Simon’s story is so far from what most closeted teens actually go through, but it is one version of a story that’s been told a million different ways. Not everyone lives in a place where people can be accepting, but it is possible. This is a movie to prove that point.
That point is exactly where ‘Love, Simon’ transforms from just an ordinary coming out story to a unique blend of breaking boundaries and turning what might be seen as generic into a movie worth watching. It teaches the most valuable life lessons a questioning kid can receive: sometimes, after holding your breath for so long, it’s more important to just exhale.
My Rating: 91%