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Film Corner: Love, Simon

May 8, 2018

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Film Corner: Love, Simon

You may know it as “that gay John Hughes-y movie”. You may know it as the “PG Call Me By Your Name”. You may even know it as the film that inspired a friend, a neighbor, even a family member, to come out to you as LGBTQ+.

Regardless of how you know it, Love, Simon has generated a great deal of buzz in the public discourse. It’s probably most notable for being the first gay romantic comedy to be released by a major US studio (20th Century Fox). That the film saw the light of day is a testament to the change of American social mores since Stonewall in favor of LGBT acceptance. Love, Simon is also notable for its striking, almost radical, ordinaryness.

The film relates the adorably fraught coming-out of everyteen Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) as he tries to navigate his final senior year of high school. However, Simon doesn’t face the same kind of existential threats that coming out normally does in these kinds of movies; Simon has a tight circle of accepting friends (including 13 Reasons Why’s Katherine Langford) and progressive parents (played dotingly by Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel).  

It takes enormous amount of courage to come out in high school. It’s a period marked by peer pressure and bullying for most teens, and one can’t blame most adolescents — gay or straight — for wanting to keep their heads down. On television, “Glee” tackled many of these issues from the relatively flamboyant sphere of the school stage (which factors here, via a hilariously awful production of “Cabaret” overseen by comedy MVP Natasha Rothwell as the school’s exasperated drama teacher). But let it be said: “Love, Simon” is precisely the kind of movie its main character so desperately needs — which means, Simon is about to become the model for an entire demographic that has had to do without, until now.

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