This past weekend, I went to see "Love, Simon" on opening day with a lovely author friend who was visiting, RJ Scott, and her husband. I expected to like the film, but nope. I loved it.
It's a standard high school film set-up with a theater group, wacky principle, and a group of friends. One of the friends, Simon, is secretly gay. He hasn't not come out for any profound reason. His family is pretty cool and open-minded. His friends would probably be supportive. But, as Simon says, he just doesn't want things to change. He has it pretty good, and he wants to just enjoy the rest of high school without drama.
But when a rather wanker-y kid at school blackmails Simon and threatens to out him, Simon does some not-so-cool things to keep him quiet. And then, of course it all blows up.
It's a fairly simple story, but what makes it so great is the level of diversity and acceptance in the movie. When Simon does come out, it's the actions he took when blackmailed, and not the fact that he is gay, that upset his friends. There's a lot of diversity in the cast. And finally, finally, there's a happy ending and the boy gets the boy.
I love reading gay romance, and I'm often frustrated there aren't more gay romantic films out there. "Shelter" is my favorite because it has a happy ending. "Latter Days" is good for that reason. But so many times, films with gay protagonists have to end in misery, such as the otherwise fabulous "Free Fall". Even "Call Me By Your Name" has a sad ending.
Let's hoping the success of "Love, Simon" brings more great gay romance (HEA included) to the screen.
What was almost as good as the film, though, was the audience reaction. Our five o'clock showing was filled with women, mostly teenagers, and they screamed, sighed, and applauded. I've never been to a regular het romance film that got that kind of reaction. I love the open-mindedness of the younger generation. And, yes, I felt proud to be a gay romance author!
So here's my rec: Go see "Love, Simon!"