By Sam Anteau
Before anything else, I want to say that this is not a review of the movie Love, Simon.
I am notoriously terrible at discerning a “good movie” from a “bad movie;” my reviews tend to center around whether I was able to sit in the theater and forget about the crippling anxiety that I have surrounding upcoming deadlines.
So, to the chagrin of many of my more cinematically-minded friends, that means I thought Suicide Squad was a good movie. Sue me.
All that said, I loved the movie Love, Simon. It’s a coming of age story of a John Hughes persuasion. The difference, of course, is that the main character is a gay teenager who has yet to come out.
What struck me first about Love, Simon is that this movie isn’t overwhelmingly sad. So often when it comes to movies with an LGBT main character, we get tragedies like Brokeback Mountain, Call Me By Your Name, or Philadelphia.
Those films were about the suffering of LGBT people, and, while the stories are important, they offer a very bleak picture of what it is like to be LGBT. Yes, love is often involved, but it’s not the feel-good sort of love we get in the rom-coms that permeate the box office.
I’m not saying that Love, Simon ignores the plights of being gay. It doesn’t, and there are plenty of times when bad/upsetting things happen to Simon that are directly related to him being gay.
But the movie doesn’t have a constant undertone of near-oppressive sadness. It is, before anything else, a teen comedy, a coming of age story.
It is sweet, funny, and tremendously endearing with a refreshingly happy ending. And, from the opinion of an LGBT person, it needed to exist.
The bleak outlook on being an LGBT person that is often offered in cinema is pretty disheartening, especially to young people who have yet to come out.
Seeing gay people dying constantly in film (while it often, unfortunately, reflects real life) just makes those people more scared to be who they are.
But Love, Simon offers something different. Yes, there is homophobia at work in the movie, and we do see Simon get bullied, but he gets a happy ending.
We get to see him have a good relationship with his friends, to be happy in high school, and in the end, he finds love.
This is typical of pretty much all main characters in teen movies but, considering that there are a very limited number of teen films featuring LGBT leads, it’s pretty much unheard of for a gay character.
With the “Bury Your Gays” trope being called out more often than ever (for good reason), it is so refreshing and hopeful to see a movie where the gay character ends up happy. Not only does he end up happy, but the film itself is lighthearted and fun! It’s like Greg Berlanti looked at my Christmas list.
In summary, if you want a solid way to support the LGBT community, or even just like a good teen comedy, I would go see Love, Simon. Even if you aren’t a member of the LGBT community, it’s just an enjoyable movie, especially in this current box office lull.