Photo: Genessa Gutzait · The Sentry

Photo: Genessa Gutzait · The Sentry
Love, Simon

As much as I love movies, one genre that I mostly steer clear of is the romantic comedy. For the most part, I don’t find any of these sorts of films appealing. Occasionally, I do want to watch a good romance (which is not exactly the same as a rom-com), but even those moods are few and far between.

Regardless of my own preferences toward rom-coms, I still found myself in a theater on the day after my birthday last year watching Love, Simon on opening night with my then boyfriend. Honestly, it was probably my idea. A date night of sorts that served to also support LGBTQ representation in film.

Let the record show that I watched Love, Simon in theaters a total of three times, which is more than I’ve seen any other film on the big screen. Let it also be noted that I have a poster for the film hanging in my room (courtesy of my roommate who worked at a theater).

Needless to say, I’m a huge Love, Simon fan. The film is a rom-com about a high school senior who begins a secret email chain with another closeted gay kid at his school. It’s based off a YA novel that I’ll probably never get around to reading, and the movie plays exactly like you expect it to: everyone makes a million pop-culture references, drinks iced coffee, wears jeans and a T-shirt the WHOLE film, and the soundtrack is comprised exclusively of top 40 hits.

Love, Simon isn’t all that well-made of a film. It looks fine but not great, has good but not Oscar-worthy performances, and is predictable in all the right ways. It’s undemanding of its audience and accessible in a way I find most other LGBTQ films I’ve seen to not be. I connected with Love, Simon in a way that I hadn’t with other gay romances because it was media meant for mainstream consumption, so much so that I even let the basic coming out storyline slide.

Don’t get me wrong, I love “art house” gay romances, but seeing a film that isn’t a thinky, perhaps difficult and depressing watch, is a nice change of pace. True, it underperformed in theaters, but we’re getting a Billy Eichner-led gay rom-com soon. Maybe Love, Simon is signaling the dawn of a time when LGBTQ characters become the leads of their own sub-genre of wide release Hollywood schmuck. I’d like that. I’d go see ‘em all.

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