by Grace Fields, Knightly News online editor-in-chief
There have been many coming-of-age films in the past about growing up, surviving high school, and knowing who you are. A majority of them involve the main character falling in love, usually with the opposite gender.
As for coming-of-age movies that are about someone falling in love with the same gender, there are very few of those. I myself can name only four: Blue Is the Warmest Colour, First Girl I Loved, Moonlight, and Call Me by Your Name. These four movies, some likely unrecognizable to readers, are all small.
These films weren’t given the same big-time Hollywood promotional treatment as many “heterosexual” coming-of-age films. Their releases were also small, being helmed by film studios you’ve probably never heard of. They also seem to be targeted mainly towards viewers you would find at an indie film festival, not typical teens like you and me.
Now, meet coming-of-age newcomer Love, Simon, the film adaption of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, the popular YA novel written by Becky Albertalli.
It stars Nick Robinson as Simon, Jennifer Garner as Emily, Josh Duhamel as Jack, Katherine Langford as Leah, Alexandra Shipp as Abby, Logan Miller as Martin, Keiynan Lonsdale as Bram, and Jorge Lendeborg Jr. as Nick.
Love, Simon tells the story of Simon Spier, a seventeen year old with a huge secret: he’s gay. Simon’s friends and family don’t know about his attractions to the same gender. The only person who knows is the anonymous classmate Simon is talking to and falling in love with online over email. When a classmate finds Simon’s emails, he is blackmailed into helping him or else he’ll out Simon to the entire school. Watch as Simon tries to keep his sexuality a secret while trying to discover the identity of the mysterious ‘Blue’ in the most hilarious, terrifying, and life-changing ways possible.
The film, released on March 16, 2018 in the United States, historically changed the LGBTQ aspect of this genre for the better. The movie was picked up by 20th Century Fox, one of the many major film studios out there. Love, Simon now holds the title of “the first mainstream gay teen movie,” and rightly so.
While watching Love, Simon, I actually felt like I was watching a coming-of-age film intended for teenagers. It realistically depicted what being a closeted teen in high school felt like and the feelings and effects after coming out.
Simon’s reasons for wanting to stay in the closet at the start of the film weren’t because the people in his life were homophobic or that if he came out society would look at him with disgust. His reasoning was simply that he didn’t want to be looked at differently due to him being gay, that he was still the same Simon he had always been.
I absolutely adored this movie. I related to Simon’s character more than any other character I’ve ever been introduced to in the history of film, the story was sweet and real, and the performances of the cast brought me to tears. The film just felt like a breath of fresh air. We honestly need more movies like Love, Simon.
Watch the trailer for Love, Simon below!