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« Soundtracking: Bridget Jones's Diary | Main | Film Bitch Awards: Casting, Ensemble, Breakthrough, Young Actors »
Wednesday
Feb132019

Great Moments in Screen Kissing: "Love, Simon"

We asked Team Experience to share favourite screen kisses this week. Here's Dancin' Dan...

Love, Simon isn't the first film to be made about LGBTQ teens. There's Beautiful ThingBut I'm a CheerleaderCampEdge of Seventeen (not the Hailee Steinfeld one), Get Real... the list goes on and on. It certainly won't be the last film to be made about LGBTQ teens, either. But it is the first one produced and distributed in wide release by a major Hollywood studio. Because of that, yes, there is an air of polished mediocrity and safety to the whole enterprise. And yet, it's hard to deny the film's effectiveness.

I don't know if, when I was a teenager, I would have had the courage to buy a ticket to see Love, Simon by myself. I do know, however, that if I had, it would have made my teenage years that much better...

I would have felt seen. And I would have seen that what I was feeling was not stupid, or wrong, or even uncommon. In fact, the very upper-middle-class-banality of Simon's life is, I think, key to the film working as well as it does, precisely because of how that milieu has come to define "normalcy" (for better and for worse) in the movies. But that's a discussion for another time...

 

There is, essentially, one reason that I will forever be willing to forgive Love, Simon all its flaws, and that is its climactic kiss. After Simon (Nick Robinson) has been outed by a pissed-off classmate, and for a short period of time finds his life coming crashing down around him, he finally builds up the courage within himself to publicly ask his anonymous pen pal, known only as Blue (Keiynan Lonsdale, who came out as queer in 2017), to meet him at the town carnival, on the ferris wheel. It's a big ask, one that would require the extremely private Blue to reveal his identity to the whole school, if not the whole city. And in true romantic comedy fashion, Blue  doesn't show up until the last minute, when Simon is on his very last round on the ferris wheel. At first, Simon is confused, not thinking that this is really Blue. But Blue explains, and admits that he wasn't sure he had it in him to do this. He even asks Simon if his identity is a disappointment. But it's not, not at all, and Simon siezes the moment and kisses Blue at the top of the ferris wheel.

And then, everyone watching cheers.

It's hard to know how much that means unless you're queer. We get queer love stories so rarely in film, and interracial ones even less, and all of that even less so in wide release. All those films about gay teens I mentioned at the top of this piece? I had to search for films like them when I was a teenager. In fact, I don't think I heard about a single one of them until I found other queer people in college who told me about them or showed them to me. They weren't readily accessible. They weren't playing in tons of theaters in suburbs across the country. So for today's teenagers to have this warm, open-hearted film in wide release in theaters and home video - a film that not only shows two queer teens struggling with life, and not only finding each other and kissing in the open, but getting applauded for it? That is a beautiful thing. That is a thing to be celebrated.

Because, as the film says, we all deserve a great love story, and we all deserve someone to share it with.

❤️

Other kisses: Notorious & The Notebook

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Reader Comments (13)

John Hughes didn't get a chance to make this movie when I was a teenager, so this may be my favorite movie of the year.

February 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterforever1267

I ADORED this movie so much. It does have its flaws, but I loved (almost) every second of it. I admit I cheered a bit at the end too.

February 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commentersek

It was on HBO one night but it was already towards the end, but of course I had to keep it on so I can see this glorious scene. So swoony.

February 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

I love it BECAUSE of it's middle of the road banality, normalcy if you will. I consider it quite the gift to young gay people out there. Bring on some more!

February 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDave in Hollywood

I'm glad this movie exists, and I'm really glad so many teens saw it and embraced it, but I thought it was pretty bad.

February 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterRob

I can't believe this didn't at least get some Golden Globe attention... it made me smile from ear to ear.

Jennifer Garner is totally underrated in both this and JUNO!

February 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterDAVID

A very flawed but enjoyable and necessary film. Nick is so adorable. And Josh and Jennifer are wonderful as the folks. Highly recommended.

February 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

I don't even see that many flaws in this film. It's mainstream entertainment with a charming cast that ticked all kind of boxes in terms of delivering an effective movie. I loved watching it with a packed audience, great energy.

February 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterEoghanMcQ

It's one of my favorite movies of the year. One of my favorite movie-going experiences of the year. I saw it alone and was immediately texting my mom about it when it was over. I'm 34 and a movie like this would have been so huge for me back in high school. It may not be perfect for everyone, but I appreciate it on a very personal level. Oh, and Nick Robinson <3

February 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPatrick T

And yet, season 3 of the Norwegian series SKAM still has the best depiction of gay teen love (or teen love in general) I've seen in ANY medium. Isak and Even forever in our hearts.

February 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterPeter W

I can't don't think to Love, Simon movie, since i watched it. It was strange for me. But i liked it.Now I follow Nick Robinson.
maybe i identification with Simon.

February 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterMehmet

Love this movie

February 13, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

I wish the movie was less wasp-y and funnier, but have to agree that the kiss scene was perfect. It melt my cold cynical heart a bit.
And Nick Robinson was fantastic. Should have gotten a Globe nod for his beautiful, sensitive performance.

February 14, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterpawel

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