Love, Simon

MOVIE REVIEW: Why YOU (& Your KIDS) Should See “Love, Simon”

I took my 13-year-old daughter to a screening of Love, Simon last night. We both laughed and cried our way through this tale of a high-school senior (an adorable Nick Robinson) who is struggling to come out to his friends and family. It’s a sweet, if not entirely realistic story about the desire for love and acceptance, but when the lights came up, I could tell it meant much more to my daughter.
“Oh WOW,” she gushed. “I just want to watch it all over again, right now!”
Emma related to Love, Simon the same way I did to my favorite John Hughes’ movies, like Pretty in Pink and The Breakfast Club. She also appreciated it’s messages of empathy and courage, which go beyond the question of coming out to one’s family. Kids drop truth-bombs on their parents regularly, so they know that even little disclosures, like bad grades or big mistakes, take their own type of courage. Love, Simon shows kids that families can weather disclosures, big and small, and still love and support each other.
I encourage parents to see Love, Simon with their older kids (it’s rated PG-13 for profanity, some sexual references, and images of kids drinking alcohol) to help open the door to those types of conversations. I also suspect that this film will inspire kids to “come out” about all sorts of things, from sexual preference and gender identity, to depression issues or even eating disorders. Love, Simon has the potential to motivate kids in a positive way and, if they are inspired to bravery, we as parents and care-givers should rise to the occasion, as well.
If parents are not comfortable seeing Love, Simon with their kids just yet, I still encourage you to see it on your own for one BIG take-away.
Adults are bombarded with horror stories about kids and how their world is so different from the one we grew up in. Every day, I see articles about the risks my children are facing and it makes me feel helpless to protect them. Love, Simon offers up a high-school experience that doesn’t look that different from the one I knew growing up, though. Sure, they have computers and cellphones and share their secrets online, but there are still the things I recognize, like uncomfortable lunchrooms, awkward school administrators, beer parties and best friends. The familiarity is comforting, and though the kids in this movie might face real-life challenges, they never feel at risk.
There’s one final, BIG message in Love, Simon that we all need to hear. Simon says that everyone deserves a great love story, and he’s right. Young, old, gay or straight, you should never stop being the hero of yours. (A)

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