The Ranch Review

Love, Martin

Promotional+poster+for+Love%2C+Simon
Promotional poster for Love, Simon

Promotional poster for Love, Simon

Promotional poster for Love, Simon

Emiliano Soto, A&E Editor

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*SPOILERS FOR Love, Simon AHEAD*

Recently I went to see the movie Love Simon, which if  you haven’t heard of it by now, you’ve probably done yourself a favor…totally half joking. This film follows Simon who is a senior in high school and he has a big secret, he is gay *gasp*. Even though we live in a mostly progressive time period. Simon feels the need to hold onto the person he’s pretended to be for so long due to the fear of high school ending. It’s not until Simon begins to anonymously email a fellow closeted boy at school that he starts to feel heard and understood. After accidentally leaving his emails open at a school computer, a fellow student confesses to have read the emails and blackmails Simon into hooking him up with a friend of Simon’s or the emails would be leaked. 

This movie just fell short with its delivery. You go into the theater thinking it’s going to paint the story for Simon and his coming out story. However, throughout this movie we are met with side plot after side plot that ultimately take away from the movie’s empowering message. From beginning to end, this movie consistently takes away attention from Simon’s personal growth. Had this movie been about Simon coming to terms with his sexuality, while falling in love with his mysterious pen pal as he simultaneously is trying to discover his identity, that would’ve been fine. This still was not the case.  

Most of the movie is focused on the supporting cast and their heterosexual relationships, totally dismissing Simons storyline. For example Simon’s personal growth is compromised by the way the movie spends time focusing on characters like Leah, Nick, Abby. Specifically the character Martin, who is set up to be the geeky, goofy good guy who just wants to date Simon’s friend. However he is not the good guy. He is blackmailing Simon into getting a date with Abby. It’s funny how the movie features two homophobic side characters as the villains, yet it was Martin’s character the whole time.  A good chunk of this movie is building up Martin’s character to the audience as the “good guy” while completely ignoring his awful behavior. He’s character is delusional and perceives himself as the nice guy who deserves to be with Abby, despite him blackmailing Simon while simultaneously stigmatizing his coming-out journey. He even gets two entire scenes with an added monologue! Once inside a restaurant filled with people and the second time being at a football game for a prom-posal. They might as well have called this movie Love, Martin because Simon ends up in the backseat of his own movie to a coward who leaks his emails regardless of Simon’s efforts. 

Simon is not the main focus of this movie, and if he was it did not read as that. Including a gay character and promoting this movie as a coming of age/coming out story yet presenting something completely different on the screen, leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It almost feels like Love, Simon was really trying to bring in a gay audience to profit off of. The main actor, Nick Robinson, isn’t even gay, and the people who are actually LGBT members within the movie play very insignificant roles. 

On paper, the idea of having a teen movie for the upcoming generation about a gay boy falling in love sounds like a good idea. However that’s not what we get from this movie. A good chunk of it’s spotlight was shed on the blackmailing. This movie wasn’t a 13 Going on 30 or Juno or even 10 Things I Hate About You. The emphasis of Love, Simon wasn’t to show two young gay individuals falling in love like say a Brokeback MountainLove, Simon was a series of uncomfortable moments that feature Simon as the background star, who by the end of the movie, remained a stranger. Is Love, Simon a step in the right direction? Yes. Does this film  feature good acting? Yes. Does this movie have a good score/soundtrack? Sure. Does Love, Simon follow through with the message it’s pretending to portray? No. Love, Simon is a series of events that contribute nothing to the intended purpose and ultimately dumb down someone’s coming out process. 

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