‘Love, Simon’: a new type of romance


Nick Robinson and Katherine Langford in Love, Simon (2018). Photo courtesy of IMDB

Audiences have seen several great coming-of-age and LGBTQ+ films in the last two years, such as “Lady Bird,” “Call Me By Your Name” and “Moonlight,” but none of these films have been nearly as accessible or popular as director Greg Berlanti’s “Love, Simon.”

This sweet, high-school romantic comedy plumbs emotional depths while putting a new type of love story into the spotlight.

Starring Nick Robinson and Katherine Langford, “Love, Simon” tells the story of high-school senior Simon Spear, who struggles with coming out to his family and friends. He has known that he is gay for awhile, but worries about telling others because he is afraid of how the news might change his life. He initiates an online conversation with another anonymous gay student at school, “Blue,” and their discussions help him become confident in his identity.

“Love, Simon” creates a John Hughes-esque high-school landscape full of typical high-school students trying to figure out who they are as people and where they fit into the world. It depicts the bumpy, emotional road of high school and is an absolute pleasure to watch.

Robinson’s role as Simon does an excellent job of portraying a relatable high-school student. He plays his character in the “sweet spot” between being a stereotype and being overdramatic, creating a character that audiences can easily relate to.

“Love, Simon” packs a huge emotional punch. Simon appears to have nothing wrong in his life. His family is loving and supportive, he has a great group of friends at school and he leads a normal, happy life. All of this serves as a sharp juxtaposition to the internal struggle he faces. He feels closest to and shares the most with Blue. Just by simply telling Blue that he is gay, Simon feels a level of comfort that he doesn’t exhibit with the rest of his friends.

“Love, Simon” realistically portrays what being in-the-closet is like. It shows audiences the feeling of constantly wearing a mask — the feeling of not truly being yourself. Simon’s mother tells him after he comes out that he can still be himself, but that now he is more himself than ever before because he can finally “exhale.” “Love, Simon” is a beacon of hope and a nod of reassurance to the countless number of closeted teens in America.

Although this movie is exciting, it’s not without its faults. As is typical for coming-of-age movies, the dialogue can feel cheesy and some of the romantic gestures seem unrealistic. However, it articulates problems that every person has felt, whether that be fitting in, moving to a new school, the ups and downs of first love or telling a hard truth. “Love, Simon” accurately reflects the struggle that many gay teens face, struggles that many people might not realize or take for granted.

Although “Love, Simon” is not a perfect movie, it has a valuable impact. It shows teens that it’s okay to be scared of coming out and that it’s okay to be gay. Simon is definitely not the first representation of a gay high school student protagonist, but he is the most well-known. His story is an exciting first step into mainstream LGBTQ+ representation in movies that tells a relatable and heartwarming story about being yourself.