With figures like President Donald Trump making openly racist, sexist and homophobic comments, bigotry is currently at the forefront of public discourse. Thus, it is of the utmost importance that the film “Love, Simon” is recognized for its excellence because it address these issues head-on.
The plot of the film focuses on a high school boy who struggles with coming out as gay to his family and friends despite their liberal background. This is the type of story that educates its audience on the LGBTQ+ community.
“Love, Simon” breaks the mold of the traditional coming out story, wherein the central conflict is often the protagonist looking for acceptance in a conservative household, family or community. However, this film points out that there can still be struggles even in an accepting community. Simon’s main conflict is actually with another student, who recognizes the struggle that comes with sexuality and blackmails him because of it. This unusual plot makes “Love, Simon” especially compelling.
The film is also progressive when it comes to race. For instance, one of the most romantically coveted people in Simon’s high school is played by Alexandra Shipp, a woman of color. This was wonderful to see in a film because far too many movies idolize only European beauty standards.
The film is excellently made from a cinematic standpoint. Every morning, Simon and his friends get coffee together, and each time, the coffee is delivered from the drive-thru window to Simon’s car as the audience watches from the same bird’s eye view perspective. The film’s cinematic vision depicts a symbolic evolution via these coffees, as the number and types of coffees they pick up changes with evolving friendship dynamics.
Another contributing factor to the excellent entertainment value of the film is the acting. Josh Duhamel and Jennifer Garner play Simon’s father and mother, and they do a wonderful job of portraying empathetic parents. Their collective partnership in the film provides perfectly-timed moments of comedic relief in between the story’s tense progressions.
In addition, it was interesting to see Simon’s friend Leah (Katherine Langford) take on the role of his slightly quirky, insecure supporting female character. It was reminiscent of the protagonist role that she took in the Netflix original “13 Reasons Why.” Her portrayals of both characters were authentic and honest.
Although “Love, Simon” is heartwarming, one weak point of the film is that it is somewhat predictable, making the storyline cheesy at some points. At the same time, audiences often like to have their desires fulfilled in the film they watch, allowing them to walk out satisfied, so perhaps this film will appeal to that audience. Nonetheless, the plot still comes across well.
“Love, Simon” is just what the entertainment industry and society need to add to the discourse that the United States’ current political climate has created. Advocacy for social minorities through the entertainment industry — an extremely potent, public tool — is an efficient way to add to conversations regarding the LGBTQ+ community and institutionalized racism. This film’s dealings with sexuality, race beauty standards and other important issues make it a must-see film.