Done Keeping the Story Straight

March 22, 2018

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the past few months, you’ve probably heard about the film Love, Simon. There’s been a lot of talk about the representation in this film, including an article in Time Magazine which questions whether modern teens even need that representation. Having seen the film this past weekend and being a ~gay teen~ myself, I can say without question: this movie was sorely needed.

The premise of the film, for those who aren’t aware, is typical of your average romcom. I’ve been conditioned to see romantic comedies as straight nonsense, so I have to admit that I was a little wary when I heard the titular character, Simon Spier (Nick Robinson), describe himself as something along the lines of a perfectly normal teen with a big secret. What sets him apart, of course, is the nature of that secret: Simon is a big ol’ gay. And that’s where things become interesting.

I’d like to think that I’m pretty ‘in the know’ about gay media, but this is first time I’ve seen a big-budget film where the gay kids get a happy ending. The only other fluffy romantic comedy I can think of is Big Eden, which not many people know about (though I recommend seeing it, if you can). As I was growing up, I didn’t have a lot of exposure to ~gay media~, and when I did, it was usually depressing. I’m not going to talk a lot about how seeing gay people die or end up unhappy can affect a young kid’s psyche, as a lot more eloquent people have already covered that territory, but I will say: it sucks. You get into the mindset, whether conscious or not, that you’ll never have that sweet, slightly cheesy kind of love.

Love, Simon gives a new generation of gay kids just that. It’s basically an 80’s movie (along the lines of something like Pretty in Pink), but it puts people like us in the spotlight. Now, obviously, I’m not a gay man, but there was a lot about Simon and his struggle to come out that I found myself relating to. As someone who has long been cynical about this genre of movie, I actually found myself rooting for the characters and hoping that they got their happy ending.

After the film was over, I kept thinking about how kids even younger than I am are going to see this movie. They’re going to have a cultural touchstone to fall back on that tells them that they can have a cute, sappy love story – that they can have a happy ending. In a world where most of our representation can be found in dark dramas or films which discuss the ‘taboo’ nature of our relationships, that’s damn near groundbreaking. Bottom line? Support this film, if you can. We need more like it.

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