Thank you, Simon
Through the years Hollywood and its representation of LGBT characters has been quite the same: no happy ending, comic relief, loneniless… but there is this movie that has changed it, showing an inside of what most LGBT people has gone through.
Photo: Fox Movies
Based on a novel written by Becky Albertalli, “Love, Simon” introduces us to Simon: a young man that has been feeling this attraction to the same sex for a while, but doesn’t know how to deal with it, despite having a loving and open minded family that breaks the traditional mold for this type of movies.
Simon, besides beign a closeted gay, is clearly an introvert that enjoys spending time with his closest friends and has good grades (something I can relate a little). Sadly, at school he’s constantly reminded the place of gay people: they must be effeminate (in case of men) and must accept bullying because of this. This is one of the main reasons he choses not to out himself, not even to his parents, as his father makes constant jokes about gay men, despite not being himself the classic portrayal of masculinity that society expects.
WARNING: Spoilers ahead!
Students of the school run a tumblr blog, where people confess anonymously some of his secrets, post memes related to school life and typical things you can find nowadays on the internet. Simon is not a big fan of it, until his best friend Leah tells him to go online and read the confession of a boy nicknamed Blue, that tells that he is gay.
Simon, nervous, writes to him (under the nickname Jaques) that he shares his same secret. From then on, they become friends and share things that, probably, don’t usually share with everyone.
One day, Simon logs in into his Gmail account at the school’s library computers, leaving the session open. It is then when problems begin: a classmate (Martin) in a desperate move to get close to Abby (one of Simon’s friends) blackmails him. Here is all downwards for Simon, who agrees to help him to keep his secret safe.
Maybe not all gay people face a situation for a possible outing, but you do live with the fear that someone may out you , specially when the internet offers certain “safety” to do such things. And it’s not a problem only for a teenager, but many people face this fear at their workplaces. Why only gay people has to out themselves? Are we so wrong that we need to tell people who we are so they feel safe and OK with themselves? These same questions go quickly through Simon’s mind, forgetting them as he tries to get Abby and Martin together.
As he does whatever he can to get them together, he starts craving to know who blue is, and runs several scenarios inside his head: is the guy from the cafeteria? Is it Bram? Is the guy from the theater play group that will be “in the middle of nowhere” for the holidays? He’s desperate, no wonder, to know who is this someone that understands him… but time runs out.
After a failed attempt to conquer Abby publicly, Martin outs Simon on the blog, publishing every e-mail with Blue; to try covering up his own misery despite Simon has done his part of the deal. The reactions are outrageous.
Leah (who confesses later she has been in love with Simon for a long time) notifies him about the outing and messages for Simon start pouring ot from everywhere, while the first heartbreaking scene comes in.
Simon’s little sister comes into his room and tells him that she has reported the posts and that they will taken down, but he notes that everyone has already seen it. She tells him that he can deny it, which only makes Simon more angry and frustrated, making his sister cry as she leaves the room. Just to make it worst, it’s Christmas eve.
The next morning his parents, and despite their acceptance, don’t know how to react (his father even pulls one of his “gay” jokes), which summed to the fact that Blue tells Simon that he can’t keep in touch after this (he deletes his gmail account) and that he hasn’t talked to his friends, islolates him even more.
One day, at lunch time in the school cafeteria, two guys make a joke about Simon and Ethan ( the only other gay guy in school, who is out and proud), which sends them to the principal’s office. There, Simon realises that Ethan doesn’t have it easy at home: he tells Simon how his mother still talks to his grandparents about the many girlfriends he has.
Simon’s mother makes a huge point talking to him, as she explains the changes she saw: Simon went from a typical happy little boy to a secretive and introverted one out of nowhere, so she reminds him that he is still him. He has nothing to change about himself and that he deserves no less just because he’s gay. She makes him notice that those who love him do it for who he is, specially her and his father (heartbreaking moment 2). His father apologises for all the jokes and asks him why he didn’t tell anything and proves Simon’s mother point (heartbreaking moment 3)
He apologises to his friends (who don’t take it easy, as they’re not able to put themselves in Simon’s place), confronts a regretful Martin and delivers one of the best lines: “That’s suppoused to be my thing!”, and posts on the tumblr a message for Blue, to meet where he knows.
Everyone is expectant to find out who Blue is, as Simon rides the ferris wheel. When Simon has the last turn, in an attempt to reddem himself, pays for another ride. Here’s when Bram appears and reveals that he is Blue. Happy ending.
People may think that is just a well crafted plot, but there are so many things you can relate to, specially with the fact that Simon feels presured to tell everyone (Leah questions him about why he told Abby first) and that many times even the more open minded parents might have some issues.
It’s not easy to deal with the “out” factor, as this has little relation to how you’re going to feel but how the others around you will, despite (as Simon said) it’s your thing. People always want to make anything that happens to you about them: “Why didn’t you tell me? I’m your best friend!”, “You have to tell the others” or “Don’t tell anyone else, they’ll feel awkward around you after” and maybe even a “be careful please, don’t get Aids…”. People around you (specially heterosexual people) will project on you their own fears learned from the cliches of all times: you’ll party your whole life and have fun but end up lonely, probably dying of Aids (yes, they don’t know that Aids doesn’t directly kill you) and heterosexual men will tell you to please not hint at them (even the ones that are ugly as fuck).
Thank you ,Simon, for showing everyone that it’s not easy to go out of the closet and that, in the end, things can work out.