Love, Simon

Love, Simon ★★★★½

"You took that away from me."

I regret coming out to my peers in college. Not because I feel ashamed of who I am, but because I wasn't ready to talk about it then. I chose to live out this fantasy where I could tell everyone I was gay and talk openly and vulgarly about sex because I knew I had the freedom to do so, but I never enjoyed it. I felt this pressure to be completely open and honest in a way that was not on my own terms. I told people everything, things I can't believe I said, and their initial wave of curiosity encouraged me to keep going. Soon, though, the novelty of my sexuality wore off, and I just became an obnoxious gay kid who needed to keep his mouth shut. I mistook pride in my identity for revealing my all to everyone all the time, and that wasn't something I should've had to do.

What I love most about Love, Simon is how it so explicitly demonstrates the difference between being being proud of who you are and being ready to say it. Identity is personal, and it is no one's right to demand that we reveal ourselves. Simon never doubts he's gay, nor does he wish he wasn't, but he just isn't ready to be seen differently. I've seen this concept explored so rarely, even within the world of independent film. When it is explored, it often ends in misery, the protagonist being crushed by the weight of the world around them. Work like that makes a powerful statement, and I love much of it, but I also love this. I love the positivity of this film and its ability to be serious without being bleak.

The cliche and corniness of this film is perhaps its most powerful tool -- this is modern, mainstream reclamation. There is something so powerful about seeing this familiar format and narrative applied to a young gay teen, particularly when it's done so well. Kids in my theater were cheering and applauding at the climax -- a theater full of people were filled with joy and excitement as they watched a boy look for love with another boy. It was such a good feeling. This is a crowd-pleasing, made-for-the-masses movie, and while it may not be perfect, it means the world to me. I'm so happy this exists.

Rating: 88/100

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