Love, Simon: A Movie That Matters

Nicole Braun, Opinion Editor

In recent years, pop culture has been inundated with Young Adult (YA) book-to-movie adaptations, ranging from dystopian thrillers like The Hunger Games and Divergent series to swoon-worthy tales like The Fault In Our Stars and Everything, Everything. The newest among these ranks is March 16’s release, Love, Simon, based on the 2015 novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli.

 

Love, Simon follows closeted high school senior Simon Spier, played by the YA veteran Nick Robinson. Viewers watch as he navigates his way through friendships, school musicals, and an online relationship with Blue, a classmate who shares Simon’s secret. But when Simon’s email exchanges with Blue fall into the wrong hands, Simon’s carefully crafted world could come crashing down.

 

The movie’s focus on the struggles of being a gay teen works to normalize the LGBT+ experience in society, and it sheds light on the very real experiences that some kids face on a day-to-day basis. The fact that it’s advertised as a love story, just like any other YA adaptation, further proves that the movie’s team wanted to market it as precisely what it is: a normal teen love story. Love, Simon is a success for the same reasons as Marvel’s Black Panther: it represents the often misunderstood and stereotyped, and it shows them that their stories matter as much as a straight white person’s.

 

Though some may find the “I’m just like you” statements overwhelmingly cliché and repetitive, they are necessary. The whole purpose of the movie is to stress the fact that Simon is just like you, me, and any kid in your math class: we’re all just trying to get through high school. The movie is criticized because Simon’s experience is certainly not one all LGBT+ people have: he is a white teen in a privileged neighborhood, and he is lucky that his family and friends accept him for who he is, which is not the case for so many others. This movie is not perfect, but it is a huge step toward the representation that LGBT+ community deserves.

 

Since its release, thousands upon thousands of LGBT+ people of all ages have posted online saying that Love, Simon finally helped their family accept them; that the movie gave them the courage to come out; or that Love, Simon was the first time they saw themselves represented in a mainstream Hollywood movie. These thousands of heartwarming and inspiring messages prove that not only is Love, Simon one of the most influential YA adaptations, but maybe one of the most important movies of our generation.