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Students applaud first major teen LGBTQ+ film

Lina Al Taii, Entertainment Editor

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Following the spectacular release of Black Panther, Hollywood is being thrust into the world of diversity and inclusion—the real world—headfirst. No longer will movies with all white casts and white lead roles reign supreme in the film industry.
Hollywood has finally begun casting and portraying the lives of all people, whether that is multiracial, LGBTQ+ or women, who have all been a minority in the film industry for a long time.
Love, Simon, a coming-of-age romantic drama follows the life of a pretty normal 17 year-old high school guy who happens to be gay.
Director Greg Berlanti does not stray towards any stereotypes of gay people and does not let Simon’s whole identity be defined by his romantic preference.
Instead, he creates a heartfelt story about accepting yourself and growing up. The film features actor Nick Robinson and actress Katherine Langford, who gained popularity through her role as Hannah in 13 Reasons Why.
Aside from Robinson and Langford, Berlanti also has inclusive and diverse supporting roles featuring actress Alexandra Shipp and actors Jorge Lendeborg Jr. and Keiynan Lonsdale. The film also features Jennifer Garner as Simon’s mother.
The diversity and inclusion of this film gained attention from the release of the trailer, and led to an overall opening weekend gross of $11 million and a domestic gross of over $33 million as of April 2.
The number, compared to other major films such as Black Panther, which made $202 million on opening weekend, shows that many people still do not fully support the movement.
Love, Simon has become Berlanti’s best directed film yet, and it is the first movie featuring a gay lead role to be backed by a major production studio like 20th Century Fox.
The message behind this film has proved to be true and powerful. Everyone deserves a love story and everyone deserves happiness and equality, no matter what they look like or what is in that love story.
The film also attacks stereotypes of gay people by consistently portraying Simon as the regular guy throughout the development of the conflict.
For instance, in the beginning of the film, Simon tells us that he lives a normal life with two parents, a younger sister who is obsessed with cooking, he has best friends and he is a good student.
The only difference is that he is gay. Even more, the film uses strong comedic relief through the side plot of Martin trying to win Abby’s heart and Katherine being secretly in love with Simon.
This comedy ultimately lends to a light hearted story with a deep and emotional theme.
The film follows Simon’s journey towards coming out through a string of emails with an anonymous gay classmate.
Simon falls in love with his email pen pal, but the plot takes a sharp turn when a member of Simon’s drama club, Martin, finds out he is gay and begins blackmailing him.
In the end, Martin reveals Simon’s true status to everyone online, and Simon is forced to come out to his family. The scene where Simon and Ethan, the only openly gay person at his school, were at the principal’s office was the most prominent scene in the entire film.
The scene encapsulates the idea of LGBTQ+ in a perfect manner to introduce the audience to the fact that LGBTQ+ doesn’t consist of one certain type of person. Simon could be described as the complete opposite of Ethan, yet they are both gay.
This once again lends to the overall message of inclusion and accepting all people, no matter what they look like.
As the first major motion picture featuring a gay lead role supported by a diverse and inclusive cast, Love, Simon has launched Hollywood’s film industry into the 21st century, and into the real world.
The portrayal of all people and all love has not been a popular subject in film, but more successful films like Love, Simon will guide the way for the rest of the film industry.

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The Online Edition of the Annandale High School Newspaper.
Students applaud first major teen LGBTQ+ film