The recently released Love, Simon is not only making LGBTQ+ history; it’s also elevating the rom-com genre in unprecedented ways.
It’s been met with a choir of critical praise so far. Mashable’s own MJ Franklin showered it with love in a review that called it “a gotdamn delightful romcom, and gay as hell.” In a perfect summation of the movie’s far-reaching impact, he wrote:
“[Love, Simon is] a heart-wrenching, empathy-expanding look at what it means to be a gay teen AND it’s a universal story about the awkward, messy attempts of navigating high school, AND it’s a hilarious comedy in it’s own right.”
Voices all around the internet are in agreement: Love, Simon is not only a triumph of cinema, but a huge leap toward a long overdue and desperately needed cultural shift.
Why is it so important? For one, it’s probably the first rom-com with the power to save literal lives.
Data indicates that LQBTQ+ teens are at a much higher risk of attempted suicide or suicidal thoughts. As a recent report from CNN noted, a 2015 study conducted in the United States found that 40 percent of high school students who identify as “gay, lesbian or bisexual or questioning” had “seriously” considered suicide at one point or another. (It’s important to note those numbers donot include transgender teens.)
The film ‘Love, Simon’ is out now – the first EVER major studio film about a Gay romance. It has potential to save and change many LGBT+ lives. Y’all know what to do Twitter – spread the word and take all your friends/family to see it, this is our chance! pic.twitter.com/hC6KylpCr7
— Love, Scarlet (@VoteJezzaCorbyn) March 17, 2018
Non-profit organizations like Dan Savage and husband Terry Miller’s It Gets Better Project have worked hard to provide everyone who identifies as LGBTQ, and youths in particular, with the support system needed to combat this too-common sentiment. But a mainstream Hollywood movie that addresses the joys of gay high school experiences as well as the difficulties has the potential to reach people on a much larger scale.
And that’s not to mention the important fact that this stellar, young cast isn’t just diverse in terms of sexual orientation, but also race:
TWITTER LISTEN UP
Y’ALL SAY EVERY DAY YOU WANT DIVERSITY IN MEDIA
LOVE SIMON IS ABOUT A GAY KID
LOVE SIMON HAS 2 BLACK LEADS AND A BLACK LOVE INTEREST
LOVE SIMON HAS AN OUT BLACK GAY KID
LOVE SIMON IS THE STORY WE NEED. DO NOT LET IT FLOP. BUY YOUR TICKETS. SEE IT TWICE.
— love, tali (@anybodyhaveamap) March 14, 2018
In 2016, groundbreaking Best Picture winner Moonlight shined a bright light on the especially isolating experience of being gay, black, and male in America, from youth to adulthood. That stark portrait and its success sparked an important conversation that Love, Simon continues in its own uniquely impactful way.
It should go without saying, but Love, Simon is not just an important film for LGBTQ+ people. As Franklin put it, “calling it a gay teen rom-com seems to do Love, Simon a disservice because it’s so much more than that.” This movie reflects reality by showing a broad spectrum of love and coming-of-age issues, including those of straight people.
Heterosexual people and their relationships still dominate mainstream culture, and LGBTQ+ folks have had no problem identifying with the universal experience of love depicted in all those rom-coms. Love, Simon steps out of that heteronormative mindset, but it’s still for everyone.
I hope everyone of us is buying a ticket (many tickets) to @lovesimonmovie this weekend. For the closeted high schoolers we were. For the closeted high schoolers there still are. And for our younger selves that supported every goddamn str8 teen rom com. It’s time we got our own.
— sam greisman (@SAMGREIS) March 16, 2018
Representation in mainstream culture leads to normalization. As a gatekeeper of what our culture views as “normal,” Hollywood has the power to breed life-changing empathy toward LGBTQ+ folks in those who struggle to see outside their own heterosexual lives.
love, simon really made my mom who’s struggled with accepting my sexuality cry and become more empathetic and understanding. this movie is changing perspectives and lives. support it !!! help lgbt kids please !!!
— a🥀 (@keiynanick) March 17, 2018
Most importantly, Love, Simon is already helping LGBTQ+ teens (and adults) become more comfortable with expressing their identities:
Two actors in Love Simon came out as queer since making the movie and Nick Robinson’s own brother also came out during filming but pls media, tell me gay teens don’t need this movie, fascinating stuff
— doomsday cuck (@nicosprezz) March 16, 2018
I’ve never been comfortable kissing or putting my arm around my gf in a movie theatre or public in general. Tonight I laid my head on her shoulder while we watched Love, Simon and felt completely comfortable for the first time. So yeah, I’d say this movie is pretty important.
— clementine (@whorefrost) March 17, 2018
So in summary: everyone has a reason to go see Love, Simon — twice, if possible. Oh, and don’t forget to pick up a copy of the book too.