April 8, 2018

How Love, Simon stole by heart (and hopefully changed cinema)

Love, Simon is a movie about choices. It's about choosing to be yourself over the image of yourself that society want you to be. Choosing to make mistakes, but also choosing to fix them. Choosing to come out into a hostile world but also choosing to be optimistic. Love, Simon gives the power of choice in a world that wants to shove everyone in the same societal norms. 

Love, Simon also gives the audience the choice to see a movie that will change their lives. 

There are a ton of movies with straight main characters. We don't need another one, but Hollywood has kept that standard in place because it believes that is what the audience wants. The cycle is perpetuated since Hollywood only gives us the same white-washed hetero films, tricking itself into thinking that is what the audience wants. However, the audience does not really choose unless there are other options. Picking between an apple and another apple is not a choice because you still end up with an apple regardless of your "choice". So, picking between one straight male-dominated movie and another straight male-dominated movie is not a choice for us either, just another resigned conclusion to see the same actors and storyline over and over again.

Love, Simon breaks this cycle by offering a fresh, diverse, and normal look into life as a gay teenager. While the necessity of this movie has been argued (mostly by those living under a rock without actual knowledge of the real world), Love, Simon is, more importantly, the movie that our generation WANTS.

1. The technical movie-y aspects are amazing.

I am not a movie buff. In fact, I called this section the "movie-y stuff" because I don't want you getting any ideas that I actually know anything about film. However, the thing about great cinematography (that's the real word) is that you don't have to be a movie buff to appreciate the camerawork and multimedia elements. 

A movie soundtrack has to maintain a tenuous balance between enhancing the visual shots while also creating a mood with the music. In my experience, teen romance/contemporary music tends to have cheesy music that can distract from the actual moments of the film. However, the Bleachers were the perfect pick for the soundtrack, perfectly complemented with Troye Sivan. Even though 80s music is not my preferred genre, I also loved the the shout-outs to the classic Jackson 5 and the queen Whitney Houston herself. The blend of old and new music highlighted the diverse moments of the story and got stuck in my head for weeks afterward.

I also really loved the variety of shots used in visuals. For example, the iced coffee shots from above are iconic as a great use of non-verbal, visual communication in film.

2. The secondary characters are legendary.

Instead of just being background noise, Leah, Abby, and Nick were all adorable, complex, and hilarious characters. I loved the connection that all of them had with Simon and the different ways that they complemented his character. Instead of being mere pawns in the plot, they moved both the story and my heartstrings. 

I even loved the parents. Instead of villianizing the parents, their mistakes were shown as well as their efforts to understand Simon. The portrayal of their reaction to Simon's coming out is not representative of every person's experience, but their ultimately positive reactions are what our generation needs to see. We need to see acceptance, positivity, and love, which all of the secondary characters gave to the plot. 

Also, bonus points for Tony Hale. Buster and all Arrested Development fans would be proud of his spot-on performance as the annoying vice principal.

3. Simon is himself.

Simon is not a stereotype. He doesn't fit the forced image of gay that society tried to shove him into. He drinks iced coffee like all teenagers. He goes to high school all teenagers. He has an annoying little sister and a father who cannot work technology like all teenagers. 

Simon lives in a white-picket fence neighborhood with the seemingly picture perfect family. The only "abnormality" is his secret that he is gay. However, by the end of the movie, his huge secret is not an obstacle to the perfect life, but a new path to find it. Instead of classifying Simon's sexuality as an abnormality, the movie shows that he is normal. Instead of "othering" Simon, the movie shows how being a gay teenager fits into everyday life. This characterization is the start of a revolution in cinema as the inclusion of homosexual characters, especially as main characters, becomes so widespread that it is expected instead of the exception.

I loved how Simon was characterized as a normal teenager, showing that so many real people are dealing with the same issues, and hopefully triumphs, of coming out and finding yourself.

Have you seen Love, Simon? How do you think the book compared to the movie? Did the ending make you cry happy tears? (I was bawling like a baby.) Are you optimistic about LGBQT+ representation in movies?

No comments:

Post a Comment