Review: ‘Love Simon’ misses the mark

Abby Carlin, Contributing Writer

I was excited to see “Love Simon.” A cheesy romance with the face of two queer people? I was so ready. However, “Love Simon” was not an endearing coming out story for two queer folk in a suburban high schoo. It was a misleading portrayal of two outed stories, one tragic and the other romantic.

For the reader’s reference, the difference between coming out and being outed is monumental, and the consequences  are devastating and traumatic. Coming out is completely aligned with the wants and needs of the individual. Ideally, coming out is something done willingly and lovingly, whether it be a big gesture, telling a few friends, posting a long memoir on Facebook, all of these, none of these and/or endless combinations. Also, it may differ based on your local and familial culture. Coming out can look a million different ways, but it is always voluntary.

Being outed is different. Being outed is involuntary and the result of broken trust, blackmail, rumors and again, the possibilities are endless. Being outed is not always traumatic or dramatic, but it betrays the individual, as the information given outwardly was not freely given by the individual. The “outing” process can be masked as coming out, as there is an outside pressure placed on the individual. In this case, the pressure coheres the individual to reveal a part of themselves they may not be ready to share, whether it be with family, close friends or a larger community.

“Love, Simon” follows a young man, Simon, and his friends in high school as they slowly approach graduation day. Simon feels the weight of his hidden sexuality. This is not to be confused with shame, as Simon is not ashamed of being a homosexual; he just is not ready to share that with his family and friends. Understandably so, considering how one of his peers had come out a few years prior and that is all that person became known as: gay. Simon celebrates other aspects of himself, as he should, but begins to embrace his sexuality after meeting another closeted classmate through an anonymous post on their high school’s equivalent of a chatroom (this aspect is hard to explain, but it is kind of like an anonymous Facebook exclusive to this school).

Simon is good friends with a girl who everyone wants to be with, and through a confusing series of crushes, lies and blackmail, Simon finds himself alone after he is outed. Because of the measures he took to keep the blackmail at bay, Simon’s actions against his friends seem, in their eyes, unforgiveable. However, the focus and real drama lies in the fact that now Simon is outed, and everyone knows about the emails he had been exchanging with Blue,  and Blue no longer wishes to communicate.

At this point in the film, we do not know who Blue is, and throughout the entirety of the film, even when things are going great between Simon and Blue, Blue wishes to remain anonymous. By the time Simon is outed, Blue had recently come out to his family and received a great response, but he was still not ready to come out publicly. That is a decision that the consumer and Simon must respect.

However, that is not how the film ends. Once Simon wins all of his friends back, he makes a big post on the anonymous site calling to Blue to meet him at the school’s carnival. With the whole student body watching (literally watching at the base of the Ferris wheel), Blue shows up at the last minute. Flustered, overwhelmed and anxious, Blue reveals that he would not have come out without Simon.

Romantic, maybe? Problematic, definitely.

Simon, and the creators of this movie mean well, but they confuse the difference between outing and coming out. Blue was not ready, in his eyes, and it does not matter what anyone else says, because the only person that matters in the coming out process is the individual coming out.

I hope that, in the future, we see many more films featuring queer people at the forefront, but perhaps, without the romanticization of coming out.

Abby Carlin is a junior English language arts major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].