The new high school rom-com, Love, Simon, promises to be unlike anything you've seen before. That's because the movie tells a love story from the perspective of a gay teenager, the titular Simon. Part of what makes the movie so great is how realistic it is, but Love, Simon isn't based on a true story. Instead the inspiration for the upcoming film, which stars Nick Robinson as Simon, comes from a bestselling YA novel called Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda.
Even though Love, Simon might not be based on true events, it has a lot of aspects of it to which both the film's director, Greg Berlanti, and Simon vs.'s author, Becky Albertalli, relate. In fact, in a video interview with HBO, Berlanti explained that everyone will relate to the way that the movie's high schoolers so often feel unsure of themselves.
"Young people in particular have a person that they feel like they are inside and then the person that the world outside sees them as," Berlanti told HBO. "We all have our coming out moments." One of the most memorable parts of Love, Simon occurs when Simon imagines his straight friends coming out as straight to their parents. It's the perfect commentary about heteronormativity, and it's just one aspect of why the movie is such necessary viewing by all.
For Berlanti, however, Love, Simon resonates especially strongly, as the director has spoken about his own experience with coming out to his family. "Being gay myself didn’t just connect me more with the material but connected me more with the people involved in making the movie," Berlanti told Variety. "I would have been excited to go make a movie like this even if it had nothing to do with being gay because it just felt so warm and real. And I was triply excited that it was so specific about the gay experience."
The original inspiration for Love, Simon occurred to Albertalli through her work as a clinical psychologist. While the Simon vs. author was inspired by the teens she'd worked with, she told Hypable that she didn't use any specific person's experience. "As a psychologist, my first priority is to protect the confidentiality of my former clients, so I’m very careful not to borrow any of their stories for my fiction," she said in a 2015 interview. "In a general sense, I am very inspired by the teens I’ve worked with, especially those who identify as LGBTQIA+ or gender nonconforming. They are funny, smart, brave, and awesome."
Albertalli's book clearly resonated with many readers, as it's still ranked number one on Amazon's Teen & Young Adult Gay & Lesbian Fiction category years after its release. And ever since the release of the Love, Simon traierl, many fans on Twitter have been preparing themselves for how emotional they might get during the movie.
It's about time that the world got a John Hughes-style move about a gay teen. Even if the movie isn't based on a true story, so much of it will seem like it was taken from the pages of your diary. That might be because Albertalli wrote Simon vs. using her own vivid memories of high school. "Simon’s suburb is a thinly veiled version of my hometown, and even his high school was closely based on my own," the author told Hypable. "Setting the book in such a familiar place really helped anchor me as I was writing."
Love Simon has relatable parts for everyone, but most importantly, it finally lets an LGBTQ teen protagonist take center stage on-screen.