By Natalie Schroeder | Staff Writer
Opening last weekend with an impressive rating from critics and an important story to be told, Love, Simon is a narrative that people are excited to hear.
With a rating of 92 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, Love, Simon opened at a solid $11.5 million. The movie has a stacked cast starring Nick Robinson, Katherine Langford, Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel. The movie centers around a high school senior named Simon Spier (Robinson) and the secret he has carried with him for years. While Garner and Duhamel are not on screen as much as Robinson, their pivotal roles in the story allow Simon to be himself in the end.
When a closeted gay student at Simon’s high school posts his secret anonymously, the two start an email relationship. With the fake names they have given themselves, they discuss the secret they both have and their fear of coming out to the world. While this has greatly impacted Simon’s life, he is met with an ultimate obstacle when a fellow student, Martin, sees his emails and blackmails him.
This movie is full of happiness, laughter, sadness and, ultimately, relief.
When Martin is made the laughing stock at school, he exposes Simon’s emails and his secret. Young adults watching this movie can relate to the lonely feeling of being humiliated and wanting someone else in the spotlight. While the general feeling of losing people in your life as a teenager is something everyone can relate to, this story is a bit more complicated.
Simon’s story is told in a way that allows viewers to understand the viewpoint of both Simon and his loved ones. Seeing a movie that was not outlandish in its portrayal of how cruel high school can be was refreshing. The immediate support that Simon receives from the faculty of his high school provided a relief knowing that Simon would not be entirely alone after he was outed.
The movie ended on a joyous note. After the relief of being accepted by family and friends, Simon is able to be himself. In a conversation with his mother, they discuss his sexual identity for the first time since he has come out. “You get to exhale now, Simon,” she says in the scene, adding: “You get to be more you than you’ve been in a very long time.” She goes on to tell him that he deserves everything he wants. This statement is supported when Simon finds out who his mysterious email penpal was at the end of the movie with the support of his friends and other members of his graduating class.
Love, Simon shows people all over the world an idealized version of a young adult coming out to the world. The raw emotion that Robinson is capable of expressing adds relatability to the story. After keeping his secret for four years, Simon is accepted by his family. An acceptance with compassion is something everyone from the LGBTQ+ community desires but unfortunately is something not everyone gets.
Placing the movie into the romantic comedy genre was not ill-advised. While there are sad and heart-wrenching scenes, the funnier, light-hearted moments do not get lost or forgotten. A movie for young adults that shows all the ups and downs of life, especially in high school, is important, even more so when it tells viewers that their sexual orientation doesn’t change who they are. This movie also tells viewers that they deserve a great love story, no matter what.
This is a movie that shines a light on letting people have their own coming out moment on their own terms while also showing that everyone deserves decency and love. This movie warrants four stars for its creative storyline, authentic characters and positive message for its viewers. Even though this movie is about a high school student, there are many things both older and younger people can learn from this movie, making its exposure necessary.