Review: Love, Simon brings fans opportunity to embrace acceptance of themselves

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Review: Love, Simon brings fans opportunity to embrace acceptance of themselves

Nick Robinson stars as Simon in Twentieth Century Fox’s LOVE, SIMON. Photo Credit: Ben Rothstein.

Nick Robinson stars as Simon in Twentieth Century Fox’s LOVE, SIMON. Photo Credit: Ben Rothstein.

Photo Credit: Ben Rothstein

Nick Robinson stars as Simon in Twentieth Century Fox’s LOVE, SIMON. Photo Credit: Ben Rothstein.

Photo Credit: Ben Rothstein

Photo Credit: Ben Rothstein

Nick Robinson stars as Simon in Twentieth Century Fox’s LOVE, SIMON. Photo Credit: Ben Rothstein.

Jessica Hernandez, Staff Writer

Note: This review contains spoilers.

 

In just a few short days, Love, Simon is already breaking barriers and paving the way for a new wave of movies that are all-inclusive and inspiring to viewers of all kinds.

 

Love, Simon is a film based off Becky Albertalli’s debut novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and follows the story of a high school senior as he struggles to define who he is and accept his circumstances along the way.

 

The protagonist, Simon Spier, is a teenager living near Atlanta with his family. His friends, Nick, Leah and Abby are all very close and resemble the dynamic of any small, tight-knit group of friends. Spier is keeping an enormous secret from his family, friends and the rest of the world: he is gay.

 

The story follows Spier and his correspondence with an anonymous student at his school. The student, under the pseudonym Blue, and Spier, under an alias as well, do not know one another personally – and yet, they have fostered a connection over their similar identities as closeted gay students.

 

When the emails fall into the wrong hands, Martin, a student who wishes to be closer to one of Spier’s best friends, blackmails Spier into setting him up with his friend, Abby, with screenshots of the personal emails.  Trapped in a position where his deepest secret could become a dangerous weapon, he succumbs to the bully’s wishes and allows himself to be taken advantage of for the sake of keeping both his and Blue’s identities safe.

 

Throughout the film, Spier continues emailing Blue and begins to fall in love with him, in spite of not knowing his real identity. While continuing to follow his blackmailer’s orders and pitting his own friends against each other in the process, Spier begins to lose himself to the secret he is attempting to hide.

 

The overall message of the film is a very powerful one for viewers of all kinds, regardless of whether they are fans of the novel or new to the story. One of the major themes is acceptance; of who you are, who you love and who people see you as.

 

One of the most memorable scenes of the film is one in which Spier questions the social norms surrounding coming out.

 

“Why is straight the default?” asks Spier, as he tries to work his way through coming out to his closest friends and family members. In the past, movies have touched on such questions but never explicitly asked them.

 

Already, Love, Simon has given a voice to the countless LGBTQ+ teens and adults around the world and shown them that there is nothing to be ashamed of when it comes to being yourself. The film includes a couple of tough scenes where Spier is bullied for being gay, but his perseverance and bravery in a society where the odds are against him fill viewers with hope for a more diverse and all-inclusive future.

 

Although these scenes barely scratch the surface of the type of hate crimes that many face due to their sexuality, they give viewers a glimpse of the struggles that many go through on a daily basis. Such scenes may even lead viewers to consider their own actions and opinions toward the people in their lives.

 

The portrayals of high school students and their many mannerisms are hilariously accurate and Nick Robinson, who plays Spier, does a wonderful job of bringing Spier to life. My best friend and I laughed, cried and clapped along with other audience members as Spier’s love story unfolded on the big screen.

 

Although there are a few minor differences from the original novel to the movie adaptation, they are all for the better. The changes do take away from the bond that formed between Spier, who sends emails under the name Jacques, and Blue, but allowed the bonds between Spier’s friends and family to be developed even further on screen.

 

Love, Simon is one of the first movies of its kind due to the fact that it is the first movie backed by a major film studio that features a teenage LGBTQ+ protagonist along with two African-American leads, one of them also being gay. Not only that, but the marketing strategies used to promote the movie and its message are clever and made a lasting impression on potential viewers.

 

Although I can’t relate to Spier’s story on a personal level, I still see myself portrayed in both the book and the movie as one of Spier’s close friends or relatives. Spier’s friends and family are all supportive of his true self and assure him that all they want is for him to be happy with himself and with his life. Just as the movie’s slogan claims, “everyone deserves a great love story” and I am excited to how this film changes the industry.

 

No matter who you are or what you believe in, Love, Simon is a charming, quirky, truthful and above all else, hopeful movie about love, friendship and the defiance of social and cultural norms in a world where stereotypes and stigmas still hold abundant power.

 

Follow Jessica @jessicamh13

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