In “Love, Simon,” the title character’s first words are “I’m just like you.”
This is a sentiment echoed throughout much of “Love, Simon,” a movie about Simon, a senior in high school who deals with family, friends, school and the fact that nobody knows he is gay.
However, true to the movie’s opening line, Simon is a fully developed character, with a life and struggles unrelated to his sexuality.
Therein is the reason “Love, Simon” is such a good movie.
The movie is a coming-of-age story, at times romantic, comedic and dramatic.
Simon has a loving family and close friends, and deals with the pressures of high school, romantic drama and the school musical.
He corresponds with a boy he knows only as Blue, another gay student at his school, and ultimately finds the courage to accept himself and his own sexuality.
Characters on the LGBTQ spectrum are under-represented in all forms of media, and although this has improved somewhat in recent years, “Love, Simon” is among very few mainstream movies to feature a gay main character.
In this, the movie is a novelty, but it also avoids the trite and ultimately homophobic tropes which mainstream media often relies on.
Queer characters, when they exist in mainstream media, are often reduced to stereotypes and are defined solely by their sexuality.
Aside from providing much-needed positive LGBTQ representation, Simon is a fully developed character, which makes him more relatable for any audience member, regardless of sexual orientation.
Anybody who’s ever been to high school will be able to relate in some way to “Love, Simon.”
The dialogue is witty, the sets are striking and the movie comes across as modern without over-relying on pop culture references.
It elicits a variety of strong emotional responses — joy, sorrow and second-hand embarrassment, while remaining heartfelt and authentic.
Simon’s family and friends are all great characters and are well–portrayed.
Even minor characters such as the drama teacher and the vice principal are enjoyable and contribute in important ways to Simon’s journey towards self-acceptance.
“Love, Simon” is based on the book “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” by Becky Albertalli.
The movie makes changes to the source material, but when it does, it is clearly done for the sake of better portraying the story in movie format, and stays true to the spirit of the original.
In that, it will delight fans of the book and those unfamiliar with it alike.
Ultimately, “Love, Simon” strikes a perfect balance in nearly every aspect, and is a wonderful cinematic contribution to the LGBTQ rights movement.