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Cinema and Syntax: Thank you, 'Love, Simon'

The teenage coming-of-age story is one that isn’t new to cinema. 10 Things I Hate About You, Grease, Mean Girls and many more have graced the silver screen over the years, but they’ve all had one thing in common: The main characters who fall in love for each other are straight. 

Enter Love, Simon.

Love, Simon, which was released March 16, is based on Becky Albertalli’s novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda and is also the first major studio film to be centered on a gay teenage romance. In the movie, closeted high school senior Simon Spier, played by Nick Robinson, begins an online correspondence with another classmate who shares his secret. They choose pen names, with Simon choosing Jacques and the classmate choosing Blue. 

Last time I wrote “Cinema and Syntax,” I talked about the power that Coco has because of the representation of Mexican culture in it, and also how it hit me on a personal level because of my race. Love, Simon however, resonated more with me because I saw someone on screen struggle with the same struggles I went through in high school. For as long as I remember, I never once dealt with any personal demons with being Mexican despite living in a predominantly white town. But, in high school, I remember having such a hard time with coming to terms that I was gay. I, unlike Simon, remained closeted until coming to Ohio University.

We have seen a rise in the representation of minorities and those who have always been seen as “others” in recent years in both cinema and in TV. This movie is so important for LGBT youth, and when I watched it, it made me realize how much I missed out by not having a movie like this to turn to when I was younger. 

Love, Simon definitely plays into the tropes of prior high school/coming-of-age movies, but I see no issue with that. There’s the tight-knit friend group, the awkward kids, the teachers who try too hard to relate to their students, a big party because the parents are out of town and the big football game. But, this time around, there’s the kid in the halls and in the bleachers who is dealing with coming out to his school, his family, his friends and most importantly, himself. 

Despite living in a decade where we saw gay marriage legalized and the rise in acceptance of LGBT people, this movie is still a landmark. It’s still a movie that should be made and one that should be celebrated. 

There’s a point in the movie where we hear Simon lament “No matter what, announcing who you are to the world is pretty terrifying, because what if the world doesn’t like you?” His mother, played by Jennifer Garner, steals the spotlight in a heartwarming scene that is sure to not leave a dry eye in the room (it even made Nick Robinson and the crew cry during filming).

To quote the movie, everybody deserves a great love story, and yes, that includes even us gay kids. I’m so thankful that this movie was made and that a major film company picked it up as well. 

Love, Simon will make you laugh. It will make you cringe as awkward high schoolers attempt to go through life. It will make you cry. The movie is impactful on all levels and is a movie that anyone can enjoy whether they’re gay or not, and that’s what makes this movie so special. 

I’m proud of this movie and I’m proud to be gay.

Love, Carl.

Carl Fonticella is a fifth-year studying photojournalism, Spanish and Latin American Studies at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. What do you think of Love, Simon? Tell Carl by tweeting him at @fonticellaphoto

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