At the risk of sounding homophobic, I didn’t enjoy Love, Simon as much as I thought I would. Because the main character is so unattractive to commiserate with.
Love, Simon Synopsis
In his own words, teenager Simon Spier leads the perfect suburban life, except for one aspect. He’s secretly gay and quite unready to let anyone know about it. His days take an interesting turn, however, when he learns of another closeted guy in his school via a website. As the two communicate via email and share their frustrations, Simon steadily falls in love with his anonymous new friend, on top of becoming increasingly curious about the latter’s real identity. Things sadly turn dark, though, when Simon’s secret is discovered by the unpopular Martin. In exchange for secrecy, Martin blackmails Simon into agreeing to set him up with a mutual friend.
Yeah, my opening statement sums it up. After reading various glowing reviews, I thought I would deeply enjoy Love, Simon. Well, I didn’t exactly end up hating it. But I certainly didn’t experience a fuzzy, lingering warmth after watching too.
And nope, it’s not because I’m anti LGBT, or that I disagree Love, Simon was well-scripted and well-acted. My problem lies entirely with the main character, Simon Spier.
In short, Nick Robinson does a commendable job portraying the character as your everyday cool student who’s not so cool deep inside. But strip away the attractiveness and social relevance, and Simon is little more than a brat who’s head over heels in love with his own misery. I’d go as far as to say he’s not even truly in love with “Blue.” He’s just in love with the parts of himself he sees in Blue, and for the sake of that love, quite willing to exploit his closest friends.
The plot actually acknowledges Simon’s flaws, you know. Various sub-plots work together to reinforce the message that everybody has a secret or an identity they are struggling with. In other words, Simon’s secret was seriously no big deal.
What negates this message, on the other hand, is how dreamily everything works out. How there’s no real repercussion to anything too. Now, I’m not a sucker for gritty realism. I do also remember Love, Simon is meant to be an encouraging, feel-good movie.
Yet, wouldn’t a dose (or two) of real-world ugliness enhance the underlying message about the frustrations teenagers go through, gay or not?
On realism, might I add that I also agree with the reviews celebrating the believability of the plot. It seems quite unlikely to me that a youth of today, from an affluent American family, who’s Internet savvy, would feel as lonely as Simon did. A scene late in the movie specifically highlights he’s aware of gay dating apps like Grindr too.
Would such a youth be that besotted over one closeted fellow-gay in school? Would he even care? I think the scenario is only possible, if it were the 80s or 90s.
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