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Love, Simon Breaks Ground by Simply Existing

Alexandra+Shipp%2C+Nick+Robinson%2C+and+Katherine+Langford+in+Love%2C+Simon.+Photo+courtesy+of+20th+Century+Fox.%0A
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Love, Simon Breaks Ground by Simply Existing

Alexandra Shipp, Nick Robinson, and Katherine Langford in Love, Simon. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

Alexandra Shipp, Nick Robinson, and Katherine Langford in Love, Simon. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

Alexandra Shipp, Nick Robinson, and Katherine Langford in Love, Simon. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

Alexandra Shipp, Nick Robinson, and Katherine Langford in Love, Simon. Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

By Jaden Gill, Editor-in-Chief

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While Love, Simon came across as a typical romantic comedy featuring a group of high school friends and their achingly relatable endeavors, the simplicity of this film is what will lead it to make history.

Directed by Greg Berlanti, the storyline follows Simon Spier, played by Nick Robinson, as he concludes his senior year of high school. With a soundtrack of predominantly Bleachers, Whitney Houston, and The 1975, Love, Simon sufficiently checks off all the boxes of a classic modern high school romance, with a twist that sparks themes of love and hope in an interesting way: Simon is struggling to come out as gay.

17-year-old Simon has yet to tell his friends or family his secret. In fact, the only person he has told is a fellow closeted gay student at his high school who messages him anonymously.

Sticking closely to the plot of Simon vs. the Homosapien Agenda by Becky Albertalli (the novel on which the film was based), Simon begins falling in love with the boy on the other side of the phone, as he struggles to figure out how to tell the people in his life that he is gay.

Not to say that the LGBTQ community has never been represented in a film, but Simon’s character is particularly “normal.” He is not stereotypically flamboyant, he is not suffering from depression or anxiety, and his story ends with a peculiar lack of heartbreak.

It seems that before Love, Simon, the film industry only felt the need to include gay characters to spice up a TV show or produce a heart wrenching sob story. This film proves that coming out will have its challenges, but they are not impossible to overcome.

Some may critique Simon’s background and social life, dismissing his situation as fabricated or “too good to be true.” Simon has exceedingly liberal parents, a loving little sister, and a close knit group of friends who appear to be keen on expressing themselves for who they are.

Writers Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berge intentionally decided to remove the devastation, the fights with parents, the isolation from friends, and the downward spiral of depression from Simon’s coming out story. His journey is clearly not all sunshine and rainbows, but it is heartwarming from start to finish. This reiterates the message that regardless of an individual’s sexuality, they are still capable of finding their happy ending.

To put it shortly, Love, Simon neither romanticizes the process of coming out, nor does it allow Simon’s sexuality to define him or restructure the way he lives. The film has its fair share of teenage boy breakdowns and best friend drama, but in its entirety it tells the story of a kid discovering himself; there isn’t much more to it than that.

The beauty of this film lies in the simplicity of the plot. It relishes not on how Simon is gay, but instead on how Simon overcomes challenges and finds love, as the protagonist should at the end of a romantic comedy. There are equal parts emotional conversations as there are comically awkward interactions between teenagers. Even when the sentiment triggers a couple tears, the witty characters and sweet moments make it hard to stop grinning.

This is how it will make its mark in the film industry—not through unique camera angles or mind blowing special effects, but by normalizing the LGBTQ+ community in a way that could make even the most close minded thinkers view love as love. By simply existing, Love, Simon has altered the course of movie history by encouraging a message that remains shockingly sparse in the film industry. As Simon would put it, “everyone deserves a great love story.”

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