‘Just like you’

Jaycee Fitzgerald, Features editor

I am not a crier when it comes to movies, but when I watched “Love, Simon” I will proudly admit I was in tears for almost the entirety of the movie.

The movie begins with a narrative from the main character, Simon. His opening lines are, “My name’s Simon, and I’m just like you.” He goes on to say that he is a senior in high school, that he lives an average life with great friends and that he has a loving family. He says he lives a “totally normal, perfect life,” except he has a secret: He’s gay.

This secret is one he has kept from everyone in his life so far. However, everything starts to change when a student at his high school anonymously comes out as gay across social media under the alias “Blue.” Simon, wanting to confide in someone about his secret too, emails Blue under his own alias and comes out to him. For the rest of the movie, Simon and Blue go back and forth through e-mail talking about life, school, their family and the struggles they are facing from being in the closet.

Then, throughout the movie, Simon suspects multiple people of being Blue. Each person he thinks is Blue he starts to daydream about. Eventually, through the e-mails and his fantasies about who Blue could be, Simon realizes he is in love with Blue, someone he has yet to meet. The audience never sees Blue though until the end, as one plot of the story is Simon trying to find out who Blue is so they can meet in real life.

Through their messages, Blue and Simon inspire each other. Blue eventually comes out to his parents and Simon comes out to one of his friends. Neither are completely ready to come out to the entire world though. However, through a long series of events that involves Simon and his friends and another peer, Simon is outed on social media when someone posts screenshots of his messages with Blue.

For Simon, this is when everything changes. The life he had always known now seems to be gone. First, his friends are angry at him because of the lengths he went to to keep his secret, alienating him completely. Then, on Christmas morning, Simon comes out to his parents and his father doesn’t totally accept him at first. Finally, at school students begin to taunt him and harass him for being gay.

But over time, things get better. The conflicts he faced by not telling his friends were resolved. His family accepts him completely and sees him as he always was. He ends up inspiring many of his peers by being his true and honest self in the end.

The movie then ends with Simon’s search for Blue coming to an end and Simon finally feels like he has his “totally normal, perfect life” back.

In the duration of this movie not only is a coming out story told, but a story of high school, growing up, friendship, love, and self acceptance.

Like I said, this movie was a real tearjerker for me, mostly because I related so much to Simon’s story. I could see myself in his place coming out all over again. I could see myself in Simon when he was too scared to say aloud that he was gay because I was too. I could see myself in him when he was nervous to first confide in his friend Abby that he was gay because I was too. (This part, by the way, was the first part where I started crying, so beware future viewers because after this the emotional rollercoaster just continues.) I could see myself in him when he was scared his family would look at him differently because I was too. I could see myself in him when he was at first so scared to go to school after coming out because I was too. I could see myself in his place almost all of the movie because when I came out, that’s how I felt too.

The way I was able to relate to this movie is what made the experience so unique. Never before have I watched a movie about growing up or learning about love that I’ve been able to relate so closely to. The majority of movies tell a different narrative than what I, and anyone else is the LGBT+ community, experience when it comes to these things. So for there to finally be a good, modern take on growing up and learning about love that the LGBT+ community can relate to is amazing.

This movie really showed one coming out story so well and so beautifully. It showed the hardships that can come with it, like gaining acceptance, being wrongfully outed or just feeling like having to come out at all is unfair. It also showed all of the good that will come with it too, like the first breath of relief you take after coming out, the feeling of getting to truly be yourself and being able to be proud of who you are.

All in all, “Love, Simon” was just an incredible movie that everyone should watch. It is completely refreshing, utterly truth-telling and quite adorable in short. So, gay, straight or anything else, it should be watched by all. It can be relatable for those who have come out already, it can be inspiring for those who haven’t, or it can open the eyes of others to show what coming out for the first time is really like. Watching it is something you won’t regret, unless you forget to bring tissues to the theater with you.

Love, Jaycee