By Sylvia Shipman, Social Media Manager —
Last week I joined UTC in their Wednesday night viewing of “Love, Simon” at the movie theater downtown. I wasn’t sure what to expect beyond some cliche high school archetypes, and perhaps it’s because I entered with low expectations that I was blown away.
If you don’t know, “Love, Simon” is about a closeted gay kid in a town outside Atlanta who strikes up an online relationship with an anonymous gay blogger in his high school. The two bond over their secret sexualities, but their romance is put in danger by another student threatening to out Simon and the anonymous blogger if Simon doesn’t help him woo one of his female friends.
“Love, Simon” filled the void of funny yet touching coming-of-age films for teenagers left by “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” in 2012. It satisfies every need of today’s movie industry; “Love, Simon” provides comedy, drama and romance, all with the diverse cast that other films can’t seem to accomplish. This movie has the ability to touch a vast audience since it crosses over so many genres and includes characters that everyone can relate to whether they’re young, old, straight, gay, black or white.
The movie had a lot of good one-liners and awkwardly funny moments that everyone has experienced in their adolescence, whether it’s struggling to put on a brave face while drinking a vodka-heavy drink at their first party or trying to fit into a friend group that just doesn’t get your sense of humor. It also has the dramatic love triangles of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” where none of the characters seem to have their love requited.
The actors were all extremely believable. In particular, Nick Robinson, who plays the title character, perfectly gives ethos to Simon, making the audience relate to, and therefore, care about him. Simon is gay, but not flamboyant, and the non-stereotypical gay person is important for the audience to see.
But for me, the most talented actor in the movie was Logan Miller, who plays Martin, the Andy Bernard-esque drama geek whose desire for friends is pathetic yet understandable and laughable. Martin’s puns and big personality draw eye-rolls from the characters and laughs from the audience. Martin is technically the film’s biggest villain, but I still found him sympathetic at times, which is what I think is the most important quality for a movie villain to have. Miller has perfect timing and delivery, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I see the young actor carrying on more funny banter and bickering in future comedy films.
However, the movie’s strongest quality is its spotlight on the previously little-told struggles of coming to terms with your sexuality as a teenager. I was friends with many members of the LGBT community in high school; some of my friends were loud and proud while others preferred to keep knowledge of their sexuality within the friend group until they got to college. However, watching “Love, Simon” made me realize that despite my years of being friends with LGBT teenagers, I was still ignorant to the struggles of coming out that they face.
In the movie, Simon isn’t afraid of being rejected by his parents and peers, as he knows they are open-minded and will love him anyway; however, he fears that coming out will change his relationships forever, and that’s why he holds back for so long. He knows that once he comes out, there’s no going back to the way things were before. I never realized how coming out is such a pivotal and vulnerable moment for LGBT people, and “Love, Simon” shows and gets the audience to share Simon’s anxiety.
*The following paragraph contains a spoiler, even though it’s a pretty predictable spoiler* The audience definitely rides the roller coaster of coming out with Simon. Once Martin outs Simon out of spite on the internet, the audience understands just how much emotion is tied into someone’s coming out experience. While I’ve never had to come out, I still cried when I realized that Simon’s personal coming out experience was ripped away from him. Like much of the straight audience, Martin does not realize the irreparable harm that he’s done to Simon until Simon screams at him in the school parking lot, delivering a well-executed use of the PG-13 movie’s one allowance of the word “fuck.” I hate when PG-13 movies waste their one “fuck” on a stupid line like *ahem* “Titanic.”
*end spoilers* The audience is left guessing until the very end who Simon’s anonymous pen pal is, and the big reveal at the year-end carnival is totally adorable. The heartwarming romance when Simon finally kisses his lover puts the movie up there with other RomComs like “Sixteen Candles” and “10 Things I Hate About You.”
No matter who you are, “Love, Simon” is an important movie that builds an understanding of the unique struggles facing the LGBT community. It’s a roller coaster ride of emotions filled with both laughter and tears. I don’t cry often, but I cried three separate times during this movie. Since I went to see it with UTC’s Spectrum, I could tell by the gasps, whispers, and sobs in the audience just how important it is for the LGBT community to have a romance that doesn’t end in sadness. By the end of “Love, Simon,” you may be crying, but unlike every other LGBT romance, they will be tears of happiness. “Love, Simon” will go down in history as a monumental turning point in inclusion in the film industry as well as a funny sleepover comedy to watch again and again.