Seattle Prep Loves Love, Simon

Audrey Frigon, Staff Writer

The film Love, Simon hit theaters a few weeks ago and it has already sparked buzz in Hollywood for being one of the first mainstream movies with a gay leading character, especially in the romantic comedy genre.

Love, Simon is a love story about a closeted teenager based on the 2015 novel by Becky Albertalli. Through the progression of the story he learns to come to terms with who he is and be unapologetically himself. He goes through a series of troubling times that force him to come out to his peers and family. The story is emotional, fun, and energic and gives insight into the life of an everyday teenager.

The movie also shows the challenges of coming out and accepting yourself. One stand-out scene in the film is when Simon comes out to his parents. Simon’s parents struggle to understand but ultimately support and love their son. The story shows how important it is to accept and love one another even if you don’t fully understand.

Seattle Prep’s theater program had the opportunity to attend an early screening of the film alongside some of the cast of the movie. Attendee, Marie Hauck ‘20, says the movie was done really well. She says, “Not only was it super cute and romantic but it did an awesome job at normalizing a gay relationship and showing that it can be cute just like a heterosexual relationship”.

Cameron Lambert ’19 really loved the movie. He says, “it was heartwarming but also a tear-jerker”. He commends Nick Robinson for a job well done at portraying the emotions of what it feels like when your secret is getting out there. Lambert says, “I am so glad with the publicity this movie is getting because while there have been side gay characters in many teen movies, this is the first big production to fully capture what it is like to come out”. The scene with Jennifer Garner struck Lambert because he hopes that people, students and parents, will become more accepting and understanding. He says, “I hope parents will watch this and be prepared if they ever have to comfort a child when they come out”.

Love, Simon is one of the first major Hollywood movies having a LGBTQIA+ lead. It provides an uncommon representation of a queer character in films. This representation is so important because those who identify as queer have historically not seen themselves represented in the media, literature or in Hollywood and if they are, they are often background characters or jokes. This story gives a much-needed portrayal of a full character with dignity. Ms. Dotsey remembers growing up with no mainstream movies that have a gay and is happy that Hollywood is finally making progress towards representation. She comments, “It seems to me that Hollywood is finally figuring out how great and important those stories are, and I always try to buy a ticket to opening weekend of movies like Love, Simon, A Wrinkle in Time, Black Panther, and Wonder Woman, because I believe that the more of us throw our dollars at those films, the more Hollywood will be motivated to invest in broader representation.”

The movie has inspired many to come to terms with who they are and be proud of that whether that pertains to their sexual orientation, sexual identity, self-image, and much more. This story has given many people someone they can relate to and someone they can even look up to. Ms. Dotsey says that as a straight person who wants to be an ally, the movie reminded her that coming out is different for everyone who does it and isn’t always something that happens all at once. She says the thing that struck her “was how sensitively the film portrays how tough it can be for a young member of the LGBT+ community to come out, even if that person is reasonably sure their family and friends will respond lovingly”.

This was a movie that people in theaters cheered for and laughed with. It plays to the heartstrings of the audience and makes hearts flutter. Hauck comments, “I laughed and cried my way through it. It was pretty emotional.” She says the movie was really powerful and that she really liked it.

Love, Simon did an amazing job at portraying how being gay is normal. Molly Kerr ’20 says, “I think it’s good that its bringing more awareness towards sexuality and showing it as something that is normal”. Simon is gay but that isn’t his only defining trait which has been a pattern in the portrayal of gay characters in Hollywood.

Love, Simon may not be the first film to portray a gay character, but it certainly highlights the positive direction Hollywood is moving towards representation.