The problem with depression is that it can take some time to get to the point where one feels the urge to write anything. However while I might miss the bus on writing about a movie during its release I’ll have more time to think it over. This series will catch up on the movies I’ve seen in the last few weeks/months but never got around to writing about before.
***DISCLAIMER*** I’m going to lay all my cards on the table here and say that I am not at all qualified to speak on LGBT issues. I am a straight white man and this article will be entirely from my perspective, but as always my main focus will be on the merit of the film I’m writing about.
Love, Simon is a very special movie in spite of its trappings. For the most part it’s your run of the mill high-school romcom, with the usual clichés: a quirky principal, a sassy drama teacher, the nerd, jock etc. There is a significant difference to this tale though, in that the main character is a gay teenager on the verge of coming out.
Now, this isn’t to say that there aren’t an increasing number of movies that represent more and more people from the LGBT community, but what makes this unique is that this is a Major Studio Release which has a 12a certificate (PG-13 for our transatlantic friends).
Why is this significant? Normally when a movie wants to focus on an LGBT character, either you’re stuck with a more mature movie (Call Me By Your Name, for example) or the character is at the very least secondary to the main goings-on of the plot. Here at last we have a protagonist that so many young people can finally relate to, in a movie that doesn’t patronise its audience or lionise its gay characters.
As someone who will never know how tricky or painful it is to manoeuver one’s way through life as a closeted gay person, I can’t speak to how accurate the portrayal is here and I wouldn’t try to do so now. However, I will say that the writing and performances throughout are absolutely on-point; it feels like it could fall into John Green-style irritating precociousness or after-school special at any minute, and thankfully avoids both.
I mentioned before this is a genre that has been done pretty much to death up to now, and the aforementioned clichés sometimes threaten to disrupt the flow of things otherwise (the quirky principal character really got on my nerves before the end).
In all honesty though, this is just nitpicking over what is a warm, charming movie. I loved Love, Simon a lot and it deserves to be watched by as many people as possible; if not to get a refreshing LGBT coming of age movie then at least to see something funny, smart and which I guarantee will leave you feeling good at the end.