HEAVY SPOILERS FOR LOVE, SIMON TO FOLLOW
When writing my review for Love, Simon I couldn’t stop thinking about a moment in the film where the audience reaction was so surprising, powerful, and fitting that not only did it enhance the moment itself but it says something about queer film and todays society. This was supposed to be a short 100 word epilogue to my review but it more than deserves its own post.
POINT OF NO RETURN IF YOU WANT TO AVOID MAJOR SPOILERS
So I need to talk about “the moment” and “the reveal” because not only is it a beautiful, surprising, and fantastic moment within the story of the film itself but the reaction from the audience I watched the film with is something else entirely. I definitely didn’t see the reveal of Blue being Simon’s friend Bram (Keiynan Lonsdale) coming, but when it was revealed it was a feeling of happiness and fulfilment because earlier in the film they tease you with this possibility before seemingly shutting it down. That moment the first time in the film that Simon and the audience are thrown a complete curveball and absolutely crushed by the supposed revelation that the person Simon thinks is Blue… isn’t. And what makes the climactic reveal so much greater is that it was clear from early on that Simon and Bram had a great connection and a certain subtle romantic spark between them. So seeing that fulfilled in the end is such a great satisfying way to close things out. But what made this reveal sequence extra special was the audience reaction around me in the theatre and what this says about public views on queer film.
The audience in the theatre I could tell was absolutely loving the movie, the entire theatre erupted in laughs at all of the funny moments, and there were collective awwwws when Simon was constantly beaten down by various events. I could hear the occasional sniffle as people tried desperately to fight back the tears from the more sombre moments. What I’m getting at here is that the entire audience seemed wholly invested in this story and wanting to find out where these characters end up. So when it came to the climactic moment in which Bram out of nowhere runs up to the ferris wheel where Simon is waiting, I shit you not, the entire audience partook in a collective audible gasp as everyone was excited by the idea that Bram is now most likely the anonymous Blue but still no-one is entirely sure. For the next few moments it’s as if the entire theatre was holding their breath, you could probably hear a pin drop people were so invested and on the edge of their seats. And then when Simon and Bram finally kiss something incredible happened… the entire audience or what sounded like the entire audience erupted into applause accompanied by woos and various cheers.
This completely caught me by surprise, and as I was also excited by the moment in the film I too clapped with everyone else. Clapping in the theatre isn’t that foreign of an event, I have been in the theatre for a number of movies, both franchise and independent, where the commencement of the credits has been met with a resounding applause. But we are talking about a specific moment that struck such a chord with the audience that it compelled them to stop and applaud. I have seen films in which the audience has applauded during it too but that is limited exclusively to the new Star Wars films, one or two MCU entries, and the final Harry Potter movie at the point Bellatrix Lestrange is killed (spoilers…). If you haven’t noticed already these are major franchise films and they received these applauses during them because of the large passionate fandoms behind them. But Love, Simon is a relatively mid-level Hollywood production that hasn’t had much marketing, doesn’t have a massive long-running fandom backing it, and probably less than 3/4 of the people in the theatre hadn’t heard of the movie a few weeks ago as I hadn’t.
What this audience reaction said to me is that in todays society there isn’t simply an acceptance of gay or LGBT relationships but rather it’s at the point where it’s more of a celebration and support of these relationships and their representation. It’s at the point where there is very clearly a strong passion and excitement for seeing more gay love story representations in film, hence the applause in the theatre. And not just in Oscar-calibre films either such as Call me by Your Name (2017) or Moonlight (2016), the representation is becoming more and more mainstream and in turn people seem to be welcoming and celebrating the changes.
I might not be the most knowledgable when it comes to the representation of LGBT relationships in film and in society (in fact I’m very far from the most knowledgable), but I wanted to highlight this moment in this film and how the public reaction in the theatre is an indication that people want these stories to be told and when they are they’re celebrated.