Love, Simon is the gay Molly Ringwald film that America desperately needed.
The film, directed by Greg Berlanti, is a heartwarming, albeit imperfect teen story for queer kids that anyone will enjoy. It is syrupy sweet and brimming with Mean Girls inspired witticisms tailored for its generation—Drake references and all.
Through a talented cast led by the brooding Nick Robinson, we live out an idyllic suburban adolescence. The first half of the movie leans into this fantasy to the point of twee. It oscillates between visions of perfect parents, over-decorated bedrooms and a bantering gang of friends swiping coffee before class in a newly minted Subaru, all set to incredibly vibrant music.
The soundtrack is curated by Bleachers’ Jack Antonoff, whose upbeat signature has permeated the production of some of your favorite recent pop albums (Lorde and St. Vincent most recently). The tracks feature everything from The Kinks and Panic! At the Disco, to many openly gay artists including Tegan & Sara, Years and Years and Troye Sivan. For the Antonoff fans, there are several original bubblegum compositions from the man himself—plus a not so subtle cameo from an Elliot Smith poster, prominently enshrined in Simon’s room.
Through the sunshine, Love, Simon keeps a level head in its timeliness and affable, if trope-y, characters. Then, it breaks into a grittier second act, with the rise and fall of Simon’s coming out, whose hesitance draws not from peer or familial rejection, but from his wish to maintain the static of the world he’s grown up in. Due to an entanglement with a goofy, blackmailing theater kid—who discovers his love letters to an anonymous fellow student—Simon’s struggle arises when he is forced to confront the compromises he makes while trying to keep his secret at bay, all the while searching for the identity of his elusive love interest.
Though same-sex marriage was legalized nationally in 2015, Love, Simon is only the first production by a major studio to follow a gay teenager, and fans have taken to twitter in catharsis to praise its long-awaited arrival.
There’s a popular saying amongst makeover show hosts (and my mom) that goes something like, “don’t keep anything that doesn’t add any value to your life.” The basic idea being that there is already enough clutter out in the world so you don’t really need eight versions of the same striped shirt.
The same idea extends to art and representation. You really don’t need eighteen hundred versions of the same cis-white love story.
And yet, scroll through the ‘popular on Netflix’ tab and you’ll see that such a story is out here in droves. There is room to include a broader range of queer stories; to provide an event for teens and adults alike to get excited about because they get to see someone whose identity intersects with their own.
Love, Simon is a genuinely sweet and refreshing love story amidst a sea of stale, and will make even the most cynical of hearts feel a little lighter by the time the credits roll.
Contact Arts Writer Camille Sauers at firstname.lastname@example.org.