Love, Simon: Film Review
It’s a spectacular film, not just because it’s a well-told story, but more so because it will mean the world to so many coming to terms with their own confusing sexuality. It even opened up memories of my own ‘coming out’ story.
I first came out to my best friend when I was 16, and so did she to me. We were on a seesaw, jigging our classes, and we barely spoke much that morning. Until the seesaw stopped and I said I had something to tell her.
“I think I’m gay,” I said.
“I think I’m bi,” she said.
And without a word, we continued our seesawing, as if nothing out of the ordinary just occurred. We didn’t know then, but that moment changed us. The fact we both continued to seesaw meant so much to both of us because it made us realise that loving the same sex is not a big issue. It’s just who we are. And even though we were still a little confused about it all, we gave each other the necessary empowerment to find out. Because that’s what true friends do.
I wish this is how it goes for everyone who comes out, but not everyone has that privilege. And that’s why we have movies like Love, Simon.
The film is about a 17-year-old named Simon (played by Nick Robinson), who has a “huge-ass secret”. Through an online email exchange with another schoolmate, who hides behind a secret identity, Simon begins to come to terms with who he is.
I will be completely honest, I haven’t read the book, so I cannot comment on how closely related to the book this film is. But, I’m pretty sure they got the gist of what it means to be gay.
The level of detail the director Greg Berlanti and his team uncovered was truly commendable. Even on the most tear-jerking moments, such as one instance where, after seeing her son battle with his inner self and who he was, Emily (played by Jennifer Garner) tells Simon that he can now “exhale” knowing he doesn’t have to hold onto his secret. It’s that kind of insight that makes this movie so realistic and relatable.
There’s a unique term in the acting industry that truly expresses how I see this movie: verisimilitude. It means to be true to one’s character. If ever you need to understand what it means to be same-sex attracted in a world like today, look no further than this movie. It reveals the important underlying truths. Quite specifically, it shows us that even with complete equality under the law, same-sex attracted people – however young or old – still face a battle. Not just with the outside world, but with their inner world, sometimes the place that is most important of all.
Love, Simon shows a perfectly ordinary 17-year-old dealing with his sexuality, in much the same way all gay teenagers do: by themselves. All through a realistic and quite relatable dialogue that many of us have gone through. Many of us have been that ‘gay kid’ and many have been that mother or father. Many have been that friend or sibling; many have been that secret love. And many have even been that bully who may or may not live to regret their actions. It shares all their stories in a very truthful, very unabashed and unembellished way.
I have come a long way from that moment on the seesaw with my best friend. I’ve learned to accept myself and not care when others say it’s wrong. But I’m privileged to be this way, and so is Simon. While the unfortunate truth is that there are still many, many gay kids and teens struggling to come to terms with their sexuality, perhaps this movie can help at least one of them on their journey. Perhaps, also, it can provide that next stepping stone for the future.
And even if you aren’t same-sex attracted, you can still appreciate this movie for what it is: a raw narrative that shares the harsh truths about coming to terms with one’s self.