I didn’t feel safe coming out to myself when I was a teenager, let alone to other people. Even now when I’m comfortable being out on the Internet, there are only certain people I feel safe being out to in my personal life, and they’re almost all people that I met after I reached my 20s. People from my hometown? Not a chance. I feel way too afraid to come out to almost anyone who knew me as a teen, and because of this I tend to avoid the people I grew up with because I don’t believe that they would like me for me anymore.
Enter Love, Simon.
Based on Becky Albertalli’s award-winning book Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, This movie tells the story of Simon Spier, a seventeen-year-old closeted gay teen who starts emailing (and falling for) an anonymous gay teen at his school and then gets blackmailed when one of his classmates discovers his secret. Every ounce of what I feel about being in the closet was embodied in Nick Robinson’s portrayal of Simon Spier in Love, Simon, and I felt simultaneously in love AND punched in the gut. There’s something special about seeing all of the feelings you felt as a teenager up on the big screen, be it the feeling of love, the feeling of terror, or the feeling of heartbreak, and Love, Simon manages to do this with a perfect blend of happiness and angst. Though Simon’s family and friends are wonderful, I felt his stress over what they would think about his coming out — even when a queer teen has supportive people around them, before they come out there is still the anxiety over whether things are going to change after they come out, and it can be a huge deterrent to doing so. This was beautifully handled, and I loved every second of it.
This is the kind of movie that I needed at seventeen. I needed a movie showing someone like me who was afraid to be theirself. I needed a movie that showed that being queer didn’t mean I couldn’t have a happy life. I needed a movie with a sweet queer romance that told me yes, happy endings are possible. I needed a movie that showed me that all of the pain that I felt was normal — completely normal — and that life didn’t have to be like that. I cried at least six times during this movie (it may have been more — by the end of it I stopped stopping and didn’t know how to count whether I’d started crying or was still crying anymore) — at the sad parts, at the happy parts, and at the parts that I knew I could have used when I was in high school.
This is a movie that is more than worth your time. I plan to go see it again at least once more after it opens — maybe more than once — and I urge you to go see it, too. This movie isn’t just important topically, but it is also beautifully acted and directed and it will melt you into a little puddle by the end of it. It melted me. Even if I don’t feel safe coming out where I grew up still, I felt more secure about myself from watching this movie. I just wish I had had that before 23.
Love, Simon opens on 16 March 2018 in the US. Stock up on Oreos and get your tickets now!