Movie Review: ‘Love, Simon’ is more than just a coming of age story

Chas Pridgen, Contributing Writer

Based off the book “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda,” “Love, Simon” is a movie for all audiences. There is an emotional journey present in which anyone can find something to relate to.

There is an adorable little sister, a solid ensemble of friends and a nuclear family living in a pretty nice home. Nothing seems especially different from other teen coming-of-age stories. However, one thing sets this movie apart.

Spoiler alert: Simon is gay.

Many books and movies that cater to teens focus on a girl who “isn’t like other girls” because she has short hair or has read more than three books.

Not only is this trope somewhat problematic, but it is also worn out. We’ve had Katniss Everdeen, Beatrice Prior and Hazel Grace Lancaster. Now it’s time for Simon Spier.

Simon, who is brilliantly played by Nick Robinson, is a gay high school student who is forced out of the closet in a blackmailing scenario.

Gay characters on screen have a pretty bad track record. It is common for them to either be killed off early in their arc or for them to be in a toxic, abusive or pedophilic relationship (not to call out “Call Me by Your Name” or anything).

In “Love, Simon,” the gay characters are not just present for sassy one-liners or to add just enough diversity that the movie studio feels ok saying they’re progressive.

The entire movie’s plot revolves around what it is like to be in the closet, and the creators tried to tell a real story of a struggle that people actually go through every day. Simon is forced out of the closet, but he doesn’t suddenly die for no reason or start dating a 25-year-old man.

Simon goes through genuine emotional turmoil because the only part of his sexuality he could control was ripped out of his grasp. This happens to LGBTQ+ individuals who are outed against their will, and it is not a story that is often told in mainstream media.

However, everything works out for Simon in the end, which is very important representation for anyone going through a similar struggle.

On the more logistical style of things, “Love, Simon” was very well put together. The music choices had a strong teen vibe without forcing the audience to listen to grating pop music from Sirius XM Hits One. The pacing of the movie was great, keeping the audience engaged the entire duration of the film. Finally, the acting was phenomenal with stellar performances from Robinson, as well as Josh Duhamel and Jennifer Garner as Simon’s parents and Logan Miller as Martin.

A sequel novel to “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” is set to be released on April 24, 2018.