More than just a (gay) love story
Love, Simon is a story of love, friendship, and getting through high school, but coming out is its most important point.

More than just a (gay) love story

Neal P. Corpus (The Philippine Star) - May 4, 2018 - 12:00am

Amid the feel-good fanfare, ‘Love, Simon’  teaches a very important lesson on coming out.

(Warning: Spoilers ahead.)

MANILA, Philippines — I still remember when I first came out: I told a grand total of two friends, on two separate occasions, but both drunk on tequila and Jägermeister. I never thought to tell more people after that — not even my parents — because I thought that my sexuality should be a non-issue anyway. “Those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter,” my friend told me. I’ve been open about it since I haven’t had to think about it again. The only plan I have about coming out to my parents is when I have a partner who I want to introduce to them, but that doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen soon.

But here’s the thing: not everyone gets to decide how or when they come out. That’s pretty much what the story of Love, Simon is all about. It’s actually a story of love, friendship, and getting through high school, but coming out is its most important point.

Before we get into it, a little CliffsNotes primer: Simon (played by Nick Robinson), is a high schooler who’s known he’s gay for a while, but hasn’t come out yet. Or he hasn’t found a reason to, anyway. He e-meets this mystery gay guy, under the alias Blue, who comes out on their school’s gossip blog of sorts, and they begin to form a friendship and eventually, begin to fall in love (it’s high school after all, folks).

It all sounds very sweet and dandy until Simon leaves his alias email logged on to one of the library computers (how could he be so clumsy!). He’s basically blackmailed by the resident kinda-weird-guy Martin (Logan Miller) for access to Simon’s girl friend Abby (Alexandra Shipp). When everything turns to sh*t (as everything eventually does in high school), Simon is exposed on the blog.

It’s a nightmare: there are screenshots of the emails, a butt sex joke, the works. But Simon actually doesn’t collapse at what happens and seems pretty secure with himself (what a concept, right?). It’s the possibility that Blue will cut ties with him that makes Simon terrified. I mean, imagine your private emails — and identity! — getting exposed.

There’s a scene after the exposé that summarizes the entire point of the film: when Martin tries to apologize to Simon in the parking lot, Simon says that coming out should have been his thing, and no one else’s. It’s the one thing an LGBTQ person should be able to control, and that was taken away from him.

It’s already difficult to find yourself and declaring yourself to the world is hard enough, and having to declare yourself as a queer person is a whole other layer on top of that. Simon’s parents accept him immediately for who he is, but not everyone gets the same understanding parents, or the same patient friends. The least you could give them is to let them come out how and when they want to.

The movie’s only pitfall is perhaps its very idealistic world. I mean, Simon has a car, parents who champion him, a loving sister, and they all live in a big house in the suburbs. It’s all very vanilla with a lot of confectionery sugar sprinkled on top. It is, however, still a gay movie, and you can’t discount the fact that it’s still a step towards normalization and equality. Despite the film being far removed from the reality of many gay people around the world, it’s very hard to resist the feel-good — trust me, you will be won over by this movie. Just remember: it’s not like this for everyone. And that’s a very important point to remember.

(Final grade: B-)

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Love, Simon screens in cinemas starting May 9. Follow@20thCenturyFoxPH for more about the film.

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