If you’re still not over Call Me By Your Name, we’ve got bad (and by that, we mean good) news for you.
There’s finally a mainstream romantic comedy specifically made for gay teenagers. Love, Simon, based on Becky Albertalli’s bestselling book Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, is about a high school senior’s coming out journey, and it is directed by television producer Greg Berlanti. A 45-year-old openly gay man, Berlanti knows all too well the emotionally complicated world of teenagers, as he has worked as a producer for The Flash, Supergirl, Riverdale, and Dawson’s Creek.
So what’s the fuss? Not much, except that Love, Simon is the first movie of its specific genre—teenage gay romance—to be given a wide release by a studio, in this case, 20th Century Fox. (According to a Vanity Fair article, the 1997 comedy film In & Out, which starred Kevin Kline as the adult gay protagonist, was shown in 2,452 theaters—slightly bigger than Love, Simon‘s record of 2,400 theaters.)
And since its US premier on March 16, people who have seen the film have been speaking of its significance. Some prominent gay celebrities even gave the movie, Berlanti, and everyone involved props:
Billy Eichner (Billy on the Street, The Lion King)
LOVE, SIMON made me SO HAPPY. I laughed a lot but I didn't realize how moved I'd be. I didn't realize til watching it how much I wanted & needed movies like this & how much I missed out on by not having them. I wish it existed when I was younger but I'm glad it does now. GO!!!! pic.twitter.com/aV6sMZVm0f
— billy eichner (@billyeichner) March 18, 2018
Andrew Rannells (Girls)
Chris Schleicher (The Mindy Project)
Was LOVE SIMON a squeaky clean rich fantasy of coming out? Sure. But it was also adorable and well-executed and surprisingly healing for me. It would have been so important to me at 16. I didn’t know I needed this type of content. Gay people deserve “comfort-food” movies too.
— Chris Schleicher (@cschleichsrun) March 16, 2018
Lance Bass (N*Sync)
“Gay people deserve ‘comfort-food’ movies too.” Word. As much as representation matters, it shouldn’t be locked down only to a single story; there are plenty of stories to be told from the gay experience. And we can only hope that film distributors let the local audience get to hear of this particular story too.
There’s another reason to celebrate Love, Simon, and it’s the bigger exposure it is giving its lead actor Nick Robinson. The 23-year-old, whom you might have seen previously in Jurassic World and Everything, Everything, is admittedly straight, but today, we won’t get into the issue of why a straight young actor played a role that a gay young actor could and should play onscreen.
Instead, let’s talk about Robinson’s style.
Back in 2014, at, what, 19 years old, Robinson’s choice of wearing a blue-green suit with a gray shirt definitely didn’t have that “My First Suit” vibe. Also, even with the wonky eye, he was still quite the tall looker.
At a Jurassic World premiere in 2015, Robinson showed a beyond-basic understanding of what a good fit can do to a man’s outfit. The tie and the pocket square don’t add anything to the look, though.
For the May 2017 red carpet premiere of Everything, Everything, Robinson looked a bit more casual with a blue linen suit, even as he stuck to a monochromatic palette. The tan belt was a nice touch.
Maybe because it was the MTV Movie Awards (2017) and that’s why Robinson went with the perplexing combination of a mud brown blazer, a pair of metallic textured pants, and white sneakers. It’s as if three separate looks had thrown up on him.
He didn’t do much better at the recent Los Angeles premiere of Love, Simon. Maybe he thought that being “experimental” with different, dissonant hues of brown would inject some high school senior realness to his red carpet look? (Nope, not with that printed shirt, brah.)
This look is a whole lot of meh. Given that this was Love, Simon‘s Sydney premiere, maybe the jetlag had gotten to Robinson.
Now this is the “Hollywood’s New Leading Man” look that Robinson should lean into. The subtlety of the plaid and the somber appeal of the suit’s red wine palette lend the actor gravitas, but that smooth-cheeked mug immediately reminds us that he’s just 23 and is just getting started. We can’t wait to see what he’ll do next (hopefully not taking another gay role away from a gay actor).