Love, Simon

Love, Simon ★★½

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Gay youth absolutely deserve light-hearted gay films.

I would've loved this film when I was coming to terms with my sexuality.

It's a damn shame then that the final product is so bland.

Now I could critique the film on a technical level and talk about how visually plain this film looks, or I could praise how occasionally vibrant and pleasing the film's colour palette is. But then I would contradict myself when I write about how the other 60% looks so flat that it genuinely seems like raw footage that has yet to be colour graded.

I could also critique the film's insistence on making the safest, most predictable plot choices. But I won't because this is a commercial Hollywood film and no one going into it is expecting anything narratively complex. However, I will say that there were several moments that moved me. The scene in which Simon is outed and desperately trying to reach out to Blue only to discover he's deactivated his email, his one lifeline, was deeply saddening.

So instead, I'll critique how the film insists we forgive and embrace characters who do morally indefensible things (SPOILERS: abandoning your outed gay friend as he goes through one of the most difficult times of his life because he was blackmailed into inconveniencing you for a while is atrocious) despite them never apologising. What does that teach gay youth about how they should react to being mistreated by their straight friends?

It seems for every two bad or harmful decision the film makes, it has one equally moving and sincere equivalent. The mother's speech made me cry my eyes out in the cinema for the first time in my life because it was so validating and so healing. It brings a tear to my eye to think of all the gay kids who will see this on putlocker late at night or catch a rerun on TV and know that who they are isn't inherently bad or monstrous.

God knows I still need to hear that I get to exhale.

So for that reason alone, I am glad this film exists.

But Hollywood will never represent us as being anything other than straight, white and middle-class, especially as leads.
Hollywood won't represent us as layered, complex, multifaceted people or as an incredibly diverse community.

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