This week, Matt and I saw Love, Simon. A few weeks ago, we saw Black Panther, but as a white woman it's not really my place to speak to the power of a mainstream, popular, all-Black-cast film doing so well at the box-office or my delight in seeing it. I can't really speak to what it must have felt like as a Black person to experience that movie. (As a woman, though, it was incredibly powerful to see such strong, nuanced female characters on screen.)
I do urge you to read more on it. Here are some great articles: Black Panther let me see myself as a superhero for the first time; How the Black Panther Movie can Impact the Children of the Black Lives Matter Movement; The Cultural Impact of Black Panther; Black Panther is a gorgeous, groundbreaking celebration of Black Culture; and finally, Black Panther is Not for Us, White People.
When it comes to Love, Simon, though, there was a specific way the inclusivity and representation impacted me as a Jewish woman, so I wanted to write this.
It is so important, though, to see that the "genre" of LGBTQ+ films can transcend itself and fall easily into a family-friendly (generally...except for some language maybe), funny, lighthearted teen flick. Don't get me wrong, I was moved to tears multiple times while I watched Love, Simon, but I laughed more than I cried.
The nuance of Simon's character is brilliantly done, too. I appreciated that when Simon mishandles situations, he's called out on it. He's not a perfect person; he's human.
We get to see some lovely moments of humanity from even just supporting characters, but we also get to see the vicious side of prejudice that still exists today.
Mostly, I was very impressed by how effortlessly intersectional the film was. It was clearly intentional, but it did not feel forced. Not only were multiple protagonists POC, but we also saw a couple mixed-race families/relationships and Jewish characters. (This seems like a small detail, but as a Jewish woman I honed in on it immediately and was really moved to see the lighting of a menorah on the big screen. I can't think of a non-Jewish-centered film that mentions Hanukkah or Judaism even once.)
Basically, Love, Simon was a fun teen romantic-comedy that dealt with some incredibly important issues surrounding coming out and also did a stellar job of representing what the world and high school actually look like, filled with people of different races, backgrounds, families, and circumstances. I can only imagine the impact this movie's success will have on kids, whether they're out or not. The LGBTQ+ community and their stories should be mainstream and easily accessible; people of all sexual identities should be included in movies to the point where films featuring main characters anywhere on the spectrum aren't a big deal.
It's important that this movie be successful. It's important that more movies like this are made. The best way to make sure that happens is to buy a ticket..and really, it'll be well worth it, because at the end of the day, it was a good two hours of entertainment.