Review: You’ll Definitely “Love, Simon”

%22Love%2C+Simon%22+is+about+teen+Simon+Spier+and+first+love.+%28LOVE%2C+SIMON+VIA+FLICKR%29

Ben Rothstein

"Love, Simon" is about teen Simon Spier and first love. (LOVE, SIMON VIA FLICKR)

By ETHAN SHEA
Staff Writer

In the past few years, American media has made strides in LGBTQ representation. Despite this undeniable progress, the matter of representation for gender and sexual minorities in the media still has a ways to go. Fortunately, the film “Love, Simon” is a delightful step forward on the path towards more even-handed portrayals of the LGBTQ experience.

Based off the book “Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda” by Becky Albertalli, “Love, Simon” is the story of a teenage boy’s struggles with his sexual orientation. From the start, the audience is rooting for the charming Simon Spier, played by the equally-likable Nick Robinson (“Jurassic World”). Simon’s family may be progressive (and he is confident they would accept him for who he is, regardless of his sexuality), but nevertheless, Simon delays coming out for fear of changing his relationship with them and with the world around him. If Simon, who has an accepting and loving family, has trouble coming out to them, one can only imagine the struggles of others with less fortunate circumstances. This thematic underpinning echoes throughout the film.

The film also highlights Simon’s social life; his friend group, portrayed by a great supporting cast, is sincere and enjoyable to watch as they make their way through the everyday life of high school suburbia. The audience is brought along with the crew to classes and the occasional party as Simon is forced to manipulate his friends in order to protect the secret of his sexuality and anonymous lover.

In the film, Simon occasionally narrates his own struggles. His attitude toward coming out is relatable for everyone in the audience, not just those within the LGBTQ community, and he describes his struggles of learning to accept himself as something that everyone must go through.

Despite all of the social progress, the LGBTQ community continues to be misrepresented in American media. The fact that a popular American film is centered around a gay person’s struggle is a powerful notion that pushes back against an America that currently seeks to erode progress that benefits sexual and gender minorities. Having grossed over $50 million worldwide, “Love, Simon” proved mainstream audiences want to see LGBTQ stories on the big screen. Hopefully the success of this movie will inspire filmmakers to produce more films that focus on minority communities.

The matter of representation is more than just an ethical issue. People of every sexuality must be represented by popular media in the United States in order to accurately portray this diverse nation. Avoiding stories that involve minorities falsely portrays America as a country without diversity. When a child of any minority group continues to see people of their specific social group in the same roles over and over again, they begin to believe they are destined to take on these roles themselves. This is why films like “Love, Simon” and Marvel’s “Black Panther,” which respectively display the normalcy and limitlessness of minority populations, are necessary for the well-being and accurate representation of all Americans.

As refreshing and enjoyable as “Love, Simon” is, this is not the end of the battle for true representation. Hopefully, the success of this film will mark the beginning of a new era of Hollywood filmmaking that does not ignore the diversity of this nation’s people. With the current state of the film industry moving forward and the commercial success of films based on the stories of minorities, the future for those who are in need of proper representation looks bright.