With all of the strides made towards progress, the gay teen romance “Love, Simon” still leaves me feeling somewhat numb to its message.
The film, based on Becky Albertalli’s book “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda,” seemed to project an overly positive view of progress for the LGBT community.
While the book was able to portray the anxieties of navigating identity for adolescents, Greg Berlanti’s film forgoes exploring the difficulties of LGBT individuals for light-hearted discussions with comedic moments interspersed.
One of the best elements of the film was the character Simon Spier and Nick Robinson’s portrayal of a young, closeted teenager. The movie stays true to the anxiety of hiding your identity and how that anxiety is ever-present in an individual’s life.
The film idealizes the experience of being gay as being a relatively painless experience despite its best efforts, which even today isn’t necessarily accurate. It seems naively hopeful in a world where homophobia is still rampant.
On one hand, this optimism is welcome in the film world, as most LGBT films focus on the persecution and abuse of gay people. However, this was also a missed opportunity to highlight the fulfillment of coming out.
Coming out isn’t ever a simple task, and one of the highlights of my own life was the relief I found in coming out as gay. The same ecstatic feeling found in being able to express myself honestly wasn’t reflected at all in the story.
I believe that one of most important reasons for individuals to come out is to be able to express themselves. When seeing a film that sets a standard for adolescents, it’s disappointing for the resolution of the film to be that a relationship is the goal of coming out as gay.
Overall, the film is a teenage dream romance which steps just too far outside the lines of reality to be believable as a story. Where the film preaches acceptance and celebration for gay people, I still feel like there is more to be desired in validating the experiences of LGBT individuals.