The gay-themed rom-com Love, Simon only just hit theaters on Friday, March 16, and it's already inspiring people around the world to come out.
The film represents the very first time a major studio has banked on a romantic comedy about a gay teen. Based on Becky Albertalli’s 2015 novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda, the film revolves around seventeen-year-old Simon Spier (portrayed by Jurassic World's Nick Robinson), a young man with a dog named Bieber and, as he confides in the opening voiceover, "a huge-ass secret". Though he claims to have a completely normal life (and goes to great pains to assure viewers that he's just like them), Simon's got one monumental hurdle to overcome: He's been putting off telling friends and family that he's gay.
Love, Simon - which is tonally akin to John Hughes' seminal high-school dramas like Pretty in Pink and Some Kind of Wonderful - charts Simon's increasingly awkward experiences as he comes to terms with his sexuality. The drama mounts as Simon convinces himself he's falling in love with a mysterious classmate that anonymously flirts with him online. The film is directed by Greg Berlanti (Supergirl, Riverdale, The Flash) with a screenplay by Elizabeth Berger and Isaac Aptaker, best known for their work on This is Us. The acclaimed film is already empowering people with the courage to come out, including one of the film's co-stars Keiynan Lonsdale, who publicly did so via Instagram a few weeks after production wrapped last year. Check out his post below.
I like to change my hair, I like to take risks with how I dress, I like girls, & I like guys (yes), I like growing, I like learning, I like who I am and I really like who I'm becoming. Spent way too many years hating myself, thinking I was less valuable because I was different.. which is just untrue. A couple years ago I was able to accept myself, & it saved my life, but now I've gotten to a new road block & I feel kind of lost. I gotta take the next step & actually embrace who I am, which is pretty exciting. Not faking shit anymore, not apologising for falling in love with people no matter their gender. I've become bored of being insecure, ashamed, scared... no one should feel like that about themselves, especially when there is so much good life to live. Ya know more & more I see so many young people being their best / truest selves, it's fucking inspiring... so what have I been waiting for!? Who knows. Everyone in their own time. I hope we can all learn to embrace who we are & not judge people who aren't exactly the same as us. The truth is we are all family, we're all one. Just love. Keiy. ❤
Writing on Instagram, Lonsdale - who also plays Wally West on The Flash - admitted: "I like to change my hair, I like to take risks with how I dress, I like girls, & I like guys (yes)." He also discussed coming out to Love, Simon's cast and crew during an interview with THR: "I was speaking to one of my friends and I was like, 'I don't know why I'm so scared. I'm on a LGBT film, playing this character, there's a gay director, everyone is so supportive.'" He eventually worked up the nerve – during the last day of filming. "I just said it to the group, and they were of course really supportive and I explained to them that I wish I had said something earlier. It was great."
During a recent interview with Ellen Degeneres on The Ellen Show, Love, Simon's lead actor Nick Robinson revealed his real-life brother also came out during the making of the film: "One of the best things that came out of this movie is just being able to talk to him," he said. "I think that's the strength of a film like this: it starts conversations, and I hope that it can do that for more people." The critically-acclaimed 20th Century FOX film opened to a modest $11.5 million on a $10 million budget and currently holds an impressive "91% certified fresh" rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Further examples of people being inspired to come out by Love, Simon can be seen below.
I’M SEEING SO MANY PEOPLE ACCEPTING THEMSELVES AND COMING OUT PRECISELY BECAUSE OF LOVE, SIMON. THIS IS THE WORLD THAT WE NEED. THIS IS WHY THE FILM IS IMPORTANT. THIS IS A REAL CHANGE. THIS IS THE FUTURE. pic.twitter.com/317AhAYdmP— Love, Tom (@tomjr1998) March 18, 2018
I’m really at such a lost for words because I before yesterday, I had no intention of coming out for such a long time that I felt it was never a possibility. but after watching love, simon, i felt so comfortable and free with who I am. my heart is so full and happy— moe || saw IW 4x (@buckyandsteves) March 17, 2018
love, simon? one of the best films i’ve ever watched. it’s not an amazing masterpiece bc of its cinematography like cmbyn, but bc of the subject and the way it was portrayed. i absolutely adored it. and then i came out as bisexual to everyone right after seeing it :) #LOVESIMON— bloom is out today!! // 34 (@steviesbxck) March 18, 2018
this movie means so much to me. i wasn’t out to anyone in my family and I just came out to 2 of my cousins. might seem like a little thing but to me, it’s everything. #LOVESIMON— c loves elena (@gayelenaalvarez) March 18, 2018
Hopefully Love, Simon will continue empowering viewers, while also demonstrating that a gay-themed romance can have mass appeal. While it's not starting off with blow away box office, Love, Simon is the type of film that may very well improve over its first few weeks in theaters, thanks to the incredibly positive word of mouth it's receiving. Even now, it's already made back its budget, and will likely at least break even before leaving theaters.
- Love, Simon (2018) release date: Mar 16, 2018