Greg Berlanti directed a 2018 American romantic comedy-drama film, “Love, Simon” which is written by Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger, and based on the novel “Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” by Becky Albertalli. The film centres on Simon Spier (Nick Robinson), a closeted gay teenage boy in high school who is forced to balance his friends, his family, and the blackmailer threatening to out him to the entire school, while simultaneously attempting to discover the identity of the anonymous classmate with whom he has fallen in love online. Critics praised the film for its “big heart, diverse and talented cast, and revolutionary normalcy”, describing it as an “instant classic” that is “tender, sweet, and affecting” and a “hugely charming crowd-pleaser” that is “funny, warm-hearted and life-affirming”.
This movie has been promoted through various media but it went viral instantly by using social media. Social media is one of the first to be appreciated by the movie industry because of the marketing power they have. For example, the makers of The Blair Witch Project used the Internet to promote their movie using viral marketing techniques back in 1999. Information about the movie spread quickly through chat rooms and bulletin boards, so does Love, Simon. Besides, Twentieth Century Fox promoted an “Avatar Day”, featuring previews of the movie, through Facebook and Twitter and tickets sold out in a few hours. Social media have given filmmakers new channels to promote their projects directly to the audience.
This movie’s storyline does come carefully encased in an unassumingly small-c conservative plot superstructure, and in the real world not everyone in Simon’s situation has such a well-off home, sophisticated and pricey vinyl collection or impeccably liberal, non-bigoted family and circle of friends, whose reactions are never in doubt. Here the hostility is carefully quarantined to a couple of obviously homophobic boys, whose narrative function is to be trounced and then tacitly forgiven. The only other out gay kid in the school is almost impossibly witty and well-adjusted, nearly middle-aged in his droll composure. In real life, things are a bit more muddled than that.
Back to the movie, as Simon tells us in his opening voiceover, he lives a normal life “just like you”. He lives in a nice house, has two supportive parents (Josh Duhamel and Jennifer Gardner) and a young sister (Talitha Eliana Bateman) obsessed with “Top Chef”. His best friends are Leah (Katherine Langford), Nick (Jorge Lendeborg Jr.) and Abby (Alexandra Shipp). Nothing is wrong, except, as Simon says in voiceover, “I have a huge-ass secret”. His secret is he’s gay. He is pretty sure his parents would be fine with it and his friends would be okay, too. He is afraid, instead, of how it will change everything, how people might perceive him differently. He also have resents having to “come out” at all. Why is “straight the default”, he asks.
When someone with the alias “Blue” writes a post on a popular local message board about being afraid to come out as gay, Simon reaches out privately, using the alias “Jacques.” The two kids start a correspondence, hesitant at first and then increasing in intensity. The identity of “Blue” is the cliffhanger of “Love, Simon,” and Berlanti has a lot of fun keeping us in suspense. There are many potential candidates, and as Simon drifts from one to the other, wondering it could be any one of them. One of the beautiful aspects of “Love, Simon” is that the intimacy blossoming between the two characters is based on how much they come to care about each other, how much they support one another’s journey. The romantic feelings come out of a soul and heart connection.
One thing “Love, Simon” handles really nicely is the way it allows its hero’s longings to flit excitably from one guy to the next, in the manner of most inchoate crushes we have when we are young. He gets his hopes up that Blue might be one person, only to rule that person out and alight on the next candidate. Meanwhile, his straight friends have a bunch of feelings towards one other, and in one case towards him, which get tangled up in his calculus, especially when a classmate called Martin (Logan Miller) snoops on a library computer and blackmails him to fulfil a romantic agenda of his own.
Berlanti, who brought us “Dawson’s Creek” and “Riverdale,” knows this teenage territory extremely well. He understands teen neuroses, and cares about teenage experience, its intensities, its depths, how important romance is to the teenage kids engaged in it. There’s one scene where Leah shares with Simon how she always feels like she’s on the outside looking in. She says, in one of the many wonderful lines in the film, “I am the kind of person destined to care so much about one person it’ll nearly kill me.” This is how sensitive smart teenagers talk. “Love, Simon” is filled with humor in its characters, dialogue, and situations but it doesn’t sacrifice emotional depth. The two work in tandem.
Recent films like “Call Me By Your Name” and “Blue is the Warmest Color” show characters who are not punished for their sexuality by the world, their parents, their peers, and these films are huge steps forward. But “Love, Simon” is a mainstream film for teenagers.
Overall, “Love, Simon” is one of the best movies that shows the emotion, phase and journey of the people involved in the LGBT community. This film is best by watching with family members as it brings joyful entertainment and educates each family member at the same time. This movie will make those uneducated people out there to treat not just homosexuals but also any other people in the LGBT community equally. On the other hand, this movie tells those closeted people to be brave and not to be ashamed of who they are because love is love, have courage to chase what you want despite the obstacles life gave you.
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