Back Row Reflections – Love, Simon

The following contains spoilers for the movie “Love, Simon”. Pretty major ones too in some cases. If you haven’t seen the movie and want to, stop reading. If you’ve seen it or just generally don’t care, read on.

You have been warned.

So. Here we are. The movie is almost finished in my hometown and I just got around to seeing it the day I typed this up. Having done so though, I decided to shelve the write-up I was working on for Infinity War. Yes. This was that important to me to do that I shelved an MCU thing. Though to be honest I was close to shelving it until I see it a third time anyway so it’s fine. It can wait. This can’t.

“Love, Simon” is a movie I didn’t think I needed. But I did. As a queer teen romance movie, it’s finally a movie of this type I can actually relate to. And yes, I’m bisexual, not gay, but you’d be stupid to assume that means I can’t relate to this movie. Or that I’d somehow relate equally to a story like this featuring straight characters. There really just are very specific things you deal with as a queer person that straight people just don’t have to deal with. I’ll stop there for now on this sorta stuff, since otherwise I’d be here all day. And this is my thoughts on the movie, not a queer Tumblr thesis.

Anyway, I love just about everything in this movie. The acting is great, the reactions to varying things are all pretty realistic, and the dream sequence cutaway moments can be pretty hilarious at times. Including one set to the song “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” by Whitney Houston where he sees himself in college being “gay and proud” which amounts to a choreographed dance sequence with rainbow colours everywhere and him sorta dancing along awkwardly. Only to conclude he’s not “that kind of gay” or something. Which I can tell you right now, that entire sequence made me laugh so hard I started coughing for a good minute or two.

Aside from laughter though, I also got sort of pissed off and also cried a few times. We’ll go with the crying bits first I think. I have to admit I knew going in that if this movie was well done I expected to cry. But crying four different times or so? Yeah didn’t necessarily see that coming. The first time was when Simon comes out to his friend Abby and she tries to reassure him that it’s fine and she still loves him as a friend. Not entirely sure what brought the tears on then, but it happened.

The second time was after Simon had come out to his parents as a result of having been publicly outed. He’d and had been avoiding talking to them about it for a while but finally talks to his mother about, who reassures him they still love him regardless of his sexuality, and reaffirms his statement when he came out of “I’m still me” with “You’re still you”, and points out he’ll be able to be more of himself than he’d been in years now that he’s got this off his chest to them.

The third time is when his father finally manages to talk to it about him, apologising furiously for all the times he’d made what could be taken as off-colour gay jokes or just jokes assuming Simon was straight. And even though Simon tries to downplay it by saying he knows his dad didn’t mean it, his dad wouldn’t hear any of it. The fact his dad was not only so accepting, but felt horrible in hindsight about all the shit he realised must’ve hurt Simon to hear was easily one of the best scenes in the movie. And I would assume could be viewed as wish fulfilment for queer men who wished they’d had a similar interaction with their dad when they came out. Because while I can see some having had that experience, it’s easy to remember not everyone got off so easy.

The fourth time (and last time that comes to mind) was when we find out exactly who Simon’s secret pen pal was. That being a guy nicknamed Bram, who had previously been teased as the love interest but was ruled out as far as we knew after Simon walked in on him drunkenly making out with a girl. The two talk it out a little before Simon clarifies he’s not upset that Bram was the guy he’d been chatting with and they kiss on the Ferris wheel, cheered on by a crowd of onlookers from their high school. Because if there’s one thing this movie did, it was made me care about Simon enough to want him to have a happy ending.

Now to stuff that got me pissed. Some cause the movie wanted me to, others just because I related to Simon more than most people. As far as stuff that pissed me off cause the movie wanted me to, the main one, and the only one I’ll talk about, is a guy called Martin forcibly outing Simon. Martin had been blackmailing Simon with screenshots of the emails between him and the mysterious “Blue”, with his goal being to get Simon to help him get the attention of Abby. Out of fear Simon goes along with it, but when Martin does the stupid thing and makes a grand and very public gesture to try and win Abby over, and it fails spectacularly, Martin posts all the screenshots he took to Tumblr and outs Simon.

Simon gets a chance later to chew Martin out verbally but I can honestly say I’m slightly disappointed he didn’t punch him. Or even attempt to. I was half expecting him to rear back for a bunch at least. Or given that Martin was actually trying to apologise (and doing a horrible job of it), Martin could’ve easily offered himself up to get hit. And you could have Simon go for it but decide it’s not worth it. That’s my two cents anyway.

The other thing that bugged me was how pissed off Abby, Leah & Nick get at Simon after he’s outed. While I can understand Abby & Nick being annoyed that Simon’s interference didn’t allow them to get together sooner…those fuckers come off like that’s somehow equatable to BEING FORCIBLY OUTED TO YOUR HIGH SCHOOL. Fuck you. You don’t get to be that angry. “Oh, boohoo, we weren’t dating earlier even though us dating was inevitable”. Cry me a river you little fucks. And then there’s Leah. “You’re gay and tried to palm me off on Nick even though I was into you and you didn’t take the hint cause you legit thought I was into Nick. You’re cruel”. What the actual fuck girly? Screw you. Someone you’re best friends with not only isn’t interested to the point he was oblivious of your interest in him, but that aside is gay so wouldn’t be anyway. Tough shit. Deal with it and move on.

Seriously. While I feel the reactions can be deemed realistic (I mean, shit, they ARE teenagers), that scene bugged the fuck outta me because I was solidly behind Simon in that whole scenario, even though he had admittedly done some stupid shit. And hell, as much as I was just shouting at him to “JUST COME OUT IT SOLVES EVERYTHING!” it obviously isn’t that easy. For the character or for people in real life. Hell, I didn’t come out as bi until I was 25.

Looking at how long this is now I think I’ll try to wrap it up so I can get some sleep. So, once again overall, I enjoyed the hell out of this movie. It made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me both glad I saw it alone but also wish I had someone to cry with and hug. In some ways I’d argue this movie should’ve been to the queer community what Black Panther was to the black community. Even if on a smaller scale given this wasn’t a major blockbuster type release.

Though while I will thank 20th Century Fox for allowing this to be made under a major studio, I also have to ask that if this happens again, the marketing is done A LOT better. The only reason I knew this movie existed was because a gay guy I know shared the trailer on Facebook.

But I’ll stop now before I start rambling on. So, thank you to anyone who reads this. This movie meant a lot to me, so I felt I had to get my thoughts on it out there. I will most likely see you all next time for my absolutely-filled-to-the-brim-with-spoilers take on Infinity War. After I see it a third time anyway. So, it may be another week.

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