Over the weekend, I saw Love, Simon. Just like Call Me By Your Name, I was not planning on seeing this movie at all, but here we are. I just happen to stumble upon its trailer while seeing another movie (I swear to God, I think it was Pitch Perfect 3), thought it was an adorable premise, and a good friend of mine asked if I would see it with him – so I went to Barnes and Noble and grabbed me a copy of the novel it was based on. I wanted to make sure I read the book first before seeing the movie because I am not going the same mistake with Natalie Portman’s Annihilation.
Love, Simon is about a closeted high school kid named Simon who was crushing on someone he met online codenamed Blue. A fellow student found out about it and blackmailed him – things go sideways, he got outed on a blog (which the movie refuses to acknowledge as Tumblr). He came out to everyone, got his guy, and lived a rather normal high school life.
I know I am oversimplifying the premise but I am not far off. But there were scenes here and there that really hit home for this aging homosexual. I totally understand why my Twitter feed was filled with “this is a movie I did not know I needed to see, and that every gay teen should see.”
Right of the bat, I’m already lying. It’s not ONE particular scene, but a few – and they were all about coming out.
Simon was driving home with his buddy Abby and he came out to her. He has known her for only a few months, but he chose to come out to her first – even before coming out to a childhood best friend, or his family. Personally, I did the same. I am not a big fan of making an event out of it. I do not think it should be anything special but rather be treated as a fact. And I totally understood where Simon was coming from – it is harder to come out to someone you have known your whole life because you do not want them to think that you were putting on a mask the whole time. And it’s embarrassing because you do not want to make it seem like you have been living a lie, but on some level, you were.
When word got out that Simon was gay via a blog that everyone in town seem to peruse, his younger sister talked to him and said she saw the post, and that she reported it so it can be taken down. She offered to keep his secret if he was ashamed of it, to which he replied he was not. I still do not why I never came out earlier, because I have said that: I am not ashamed of being gay. And yet I held back as long as I can from having this conversation with my mom and dad. I had nothing holding me back – maybe just the unexplainable raging hormones of being a teenager, that made way to the angst of my early twenties. If you know my mother in any form or manner, then you should know I had no cards playing against me. As for my dad, he was not around. When I moved to the US to live with my dad, I was already in my twenties – almost everything in my personality was already set in stone (another lie, not completely true). But it took a potential break up for me to reach out to both and say “hey, what do I do now?”
Probably one of the most intense scenes in the movie was when Simon’s blackmailer and out-er Martin asked to talk and Simon basically lost it, screaming at Martin that coming out should have been in his terms, in his own way, in his own time – but Martin took that away from him. After coming out, I see two paths: you either feel the need to make others come out, or you would totally understand why someone stays in the closet. It is easy to say it is not a big deal, “I’ve done it” but things are just different with everybody. At the end of the day, you got to do things your way. My body, my choice.
Simon coming home and saw his mom in the living room, and he asked “did you know?” Simon’s mom, played by Jennifer Garner, gave an awesome speech. A speech so well-delivered, it was almost as if Garner had her eyes on an Oscar which she will not get for this movie because this is the wrong vehicle and because the award giving body did not give one to Michael Stuhlbarg after his similar but exponentially more stellar scene from Call Me By Your Name.
“These last few years I could almost hear you holding your breath … You are still you, Simon. You’re the same son I love to tease … the same brother who compliments his sister’s food even when it sucks. And now you get to be you more than you’ve ever been. You get to exhale.”
It was beautiful. And more importantly, it was true. You grow up putting up a wall brick by brick, building a fortress around your heart – not learning what happiness truly feels like. And then you come out, walls crashing down and you walk like an open nerve feeling everything there is to feel. And you become so happy you cry.
Like most movies, Love, Simon ended how it started: Simon heading out to school, driving around town, picking up his friends, grabbing iced coffees. One difference was in the ending, they also pick up his boyfriend, kissed, then drove to school. There was a banality to it. It was “ordinary.” Normal. And that has always been something I strive for. And this is why the movie is important today for young gay kids. It is no Oscar film, don’t get me wrong – but I don’t think an Oscar is what the creators and actors were looking in having this movie made. I would have benefitted a lot from it growing up, but only a time machine can change things now. I hope the younger generation would appreciate why a movie like this is in theaters nationwide. Because “everyone deserves their own love story.”