Tender, sweet, and affecting, this is the mainstream romcom that gay teens might not have even known they needed. But when they watch it, they'll find themselves deeply reflected. Aside from art-house movies, which don't play in many of the places lots of young people live, gay teens aren't the stars of movies. They may be the wacky, bitchy best friends (who never get a love interest) or only recognizable via subtext, in longing glances, pregnant pauses, or dialogue that circles around something but doesn't quite get there. In Love, Simon, Simon's gayness is front and center, right in the first lines of the movie's dialogue. But the conflict isn't "how will this poor tortured homosexual live his poor tortured life?," it's whether Simon can accept himself and move confidently into his adult life as a gay man.
Spoiler alert: He does, and he's accepted by his circle of photogenic friends and kind, supportive parents -- heck, even the whole dang school, which gathers (unrealistically) to clap when Simon (further spoiler alert!) gets the guy. This movie isn't particularly quirky or deep; it's predictable, the characters are fairly thinly drawn, and both cheese and corn make their presence known. (Were you wondering whether this movie has both a huge teen house party and a big emotional speech at a football game? Yup!) But this is the movie a gay teen could watch with the whole family -- Grandma and Grandpa, too -- and not be embarrassed. And everyone in the room would be captivated by the appealing actors, the relatable romance and teen angst, and the gentle messages about kindness, acceptance, and love.