“Love, Simon” largely unoriginal, delivers stereotypical teen romance


“Love, Simon” develops a classic teen romance trope but with an LGBTQ couple. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

Makayla Frazier

Becky Albertalli’s vision of character Simon Spier’s not-so-typical love story, “Simon vs. the Homo Sapien’s Agenda” was brought to the big screen as “Love, Simon” on March 10, quenching the LGBT community’s thirst for a non-mainstream teen romance.

As the theatres flooded with those with high hopes for a new teen classic, the box office earned $11.5 million within the first week — though I can’t see why.

The movie, which has been playing locally at the Emmaus Theater, ends its run at the independent cinema at 7 p.m. tomorrow.

“Love, Simon” is an average love story with a pop of controversy — Simon is gay. He struggles to accept his sexual preference and come out not only to his parents and best friend but his entire high school. Go big or go home, right? After an email persona “Blue” comes out through an anonymous post sent to the entire student body on a chat forum, Simon’s inner conflict intensifies. He sends a message to Blue, a romance begins to blossom, an antagonist is introduced through the power of blackmail — and the plot thickens. Yet this story doesn’t necessarily have anything new and exciting to offer for those looking for an original love story. Imagine “16 Candles” and “You’ve Got Mail” merged together to make a baby — “Love, Simon” is that baby. And it happens to be gay.

Though “Love, Simon” does not offer anything new to audiences — besides the fact that it’s the first gay romance produced by a large studio to be aimed at teens — it does have redeeming factors through the charm of the classic love story format it follows.

In the film, Simon, portrayed by Nick Robinson, is still the same socially awkward and easy to love character as he is in Albertalli’s novel. Robinson, known for his roles in Disney Channel films and “Everything, Everything,” brought Simon to life alongside other actors and actresses with background on LGBT movies and TV shows such as Katherine Langford as Leah, Tony Hale as Mr. Worth and Jennifer Garner as Emily.

Alongside the film’s pro LGBTQ cast, Troye Sivan, who identities as LGBTQ, is involved in the soundtrack, adding to the layers that Jack Antonoff, the executive music producer, envisioned for the motion picture.

Sivan’s song “Strawberries & Cigarettes” encompases the thought of young love and heartbreak which brings a sad tone to the film as Simon jumps through hoops to be with his internet lover.

Yet, some may knock the track due to the fact that Sivan is the only gay artist, with only one song, to capture Simon’s emotions within the film. But, overall the music pairs well with the emotions and events within the film although artists such as Khalid, Bleachers and The 1975 do not have a connection to the community.

While “Love, Simon” is an excellent movie to watch if you’re looking for an unrealistic Hollywood romance, it’s not what I was hoping it would be. No matter how many elements brought into the film bring attention to the LGBTQ community — it wasn’t original. It certainly did get really romantic, yet it wasn’t anything groundbreaking.