Love, Simon (2018)
Simon Spier keeps a huge secret from his family, his friends, and all of his classmates: he’s gay. When that secret is threatened, Simon must face everyone and come to terms with his identity.
Before I went in to see this movie I must admit to being a little bit ignorant. Not in any huge way but I mentioned to my viewing partner Darren that I was surprised this film was such a big deal in the year 2018, because isn’t the world so much more broadminded these days? (Yes, I know as I type this how far off we still are). What, of course I wasn’t taking into account, is the experience of being gay and not feeling as though you can come out to your loved ones, something I have never and will never experience.
From a position of privilege as a cis heterosexual white woman I hadn’t realised just how truly important this movie is, especially given that it’s aimed at a younger audience than say, Call Me By Your Name (2017). This was reinforced when a teenager stood up as the end credits rolled and announced to the audience that she had just come out to her family because the film had given her the strength she needed.
Proof that we don’t always know everything and there is always room to learn, even from the most unexpected places – and this is a film I thoroughly enjoyed.
Simon is a popular high schooler with a great and supportive family, a dope group of friends and a bright future ahead of him. Everything is peachy in Simon’s World but for one thing, and it’s kind of a big deal: he’s gay.
When an anonymous post by a fellow gay classmate appears on the school community blog, Simon creates a secret identity and replies to him. The two begin to chat regularly online, both unaware of the identity of the other. Life around Simon carries on as normal as he and Blue continue to communicate but everything is threatened when his fuck face acquaintance Martin (Logan Miller) stumbles upon his secret and threatens to out him.
Martin’s plan is to blackmail Simon into fixing him up with his friend Abby (Alexandra Shipp) and as it actually seems to be coming to fruition, Simon finds himself telling lie after little white lie to keep him on side. Not just for himself but for Blue, who has placed the ultimate trust in Simon. Well, this wouldn’t be much of a film if it didn’t all implode on our hero – and implode it does. As the decision to come out is taken out of his hands, Simon must come to terms not only with who he is but with everybody else’s opinions too.
Meanwhile, Simon has to work out who his new pen pal Blue really is – who could he be and could there ever be a happy ending for the two of them? And will his friends forgive his mistakes?
God. This is a very lovely story with an accomplished young cast who really make you feel all the things. Not only are we rooting for Simon, we’re also forced to give a shit about the feelings of his BFF Leah (13 Reasons Why‘s Langford), who has her own romantic challenges to contend with. Martin too is a nasty little shit but by the end you might even have sympathy for him, especially if you’ve ever been rejected publicly/been to school and not been one of the cool kids.
Simon’s parents are played flawlessly by Garner and Duhamel, while his little sister is a dream. Sure this is on the must nicer end of the scale of coming out but it’s still relevant and still important. You never know what people are going through, even when they seem to have everything. While I usually like my LGBT cinema grittier than this, I was happy to spend Sunday morning with Simon and friends – and yes I bawled at the end.