A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Much like the book it's based on, the movie's messages are about acceptance, inclusion, remaining true to yourself, and treating others with care and kindness. Several incidents of homophobia are used to teach lessons about atonement and empathy. Strong family bonds play a crucial role. Courage and integrity are themes.
Positive Role Models
Simon is a relatable "everyguy": He's accepted and liked by other students, and his family members (including a younger sister) are kind and supportive. He does well in school, is easy to live with, and doesn't do drugs, and though he makes mistakes, he atones for them and attempts to do better -- many parents will likely consider him a positive role model for teens. Most of the other characters aren't as defined and won't make much of a mark.
Violence & Scariness
No physical violence, but two male students mime anal sex on a cafeteria table while asking whether Simon likes it and call other students "fruity" and "f-g." A boy blackmails Simon to help him get time with one of his female friends, which may edge closer to exploitation than parents would like (he doesn't get anywhere and doesn't attempt to force himself on her).
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Characters talk about sex, especially in one scene where a nervous, inexperienced teen talks about "how dark it is" and "how slippery everything gets"; only a few kisses in the film, both same- and opposite-sex. Characters aren't as sex-obsessed as they occasionally are in teen movies; focus is more on romance and love. One reference to "H.J.s," and a father refers to a teen masturbating and suggests a Grindr account.
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Occasional cursing includes one use of "f--k," plus "dumbass," "s--t," "hell," "goddamn," and "a--hole." Some homophobic language: "fruity," "f-g," "butt sex," and a boy is called "she" insultingly (he responds with a joke about his "micropenis" that he compares to a "baby carrot").
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Products & Purchases
Apple products are frequently visible: iPhone, a Mac laptop.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Teens drink out of red Solo cups at a party and play beer pong. Simon arrives home drunk; his parents realize it and decide to let it pass, since he had a sober friend drive him home and made it back by curfew. Another boy at a party throws up. Joke about huffing paint. Cigar smoking.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Love, Simon is a dramedy based on the YA novel Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. It focuses on a high school senior (Nick Robinson) who finds the confidence to come out after corresponding with an anonymous friend online. It's not as edgy as many teen movies, but there's still some iffy stuff. Two homophobic teens tease and prank Simon and another gay student, calling them "f-g," "fruity," and "she." And in the school cafeteria, they climb on a table and mime anal sex. Administrators and fellow students alike condemn the display and support Simon and the other student, ultimately cheering when two gay students kiss (there's other kissing, too). Teens drink beer and play drinking games at a party; one comes home drunk, and his parents decide not to do anything because he didn't drive drunk and came home by curfew. Background cigar smoking. One joke refers to huffing paint, others to masturbation, "H.J.s," and Grindr. But overall, sex is referred to in not-very-graphic terms. A boy blackmails Simon to get time with Simon's cute female friend, and Simon goes along with it; he later atones, but the friend rightfully feels exploited. Language includes one use of "f--k," plus "dumbass," "s--t," "goddamn," and "a--hole." All of this said, the movie is positive and affirming, with messages of courage, integrity, and empathy. Characters are accepting of all of their friends' and family members' traits, including being gay, and are loving and supportive. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Tender, sweet, and affecting, this is the mainstream romcom that gay teens might not have even known they needed. But when they watch it, they'll find themselves deeply reflected. Aside from art-house movies, which don't play in many of the places lots of young people live, gay teens aren't the stars of movies. They may be the wacky, bitchy best friends (who never get a love interest) or only recognizable via subtext, in longing glances, pregnant pauses, or dialogue that circles around something but doesn't quite get there. In Love, Simon, Simon's gayness is front and center, right in the first lines of the movie's dialogue. But the conflict isn't "how will this poor tortured homosexual live his poor tortured life?," it's whether Simon can accept himself and move confidently into his adult life as a gay man.
Spoiler alert: He does, and he's accepted by his circle of photogenic friends and kind, supportive parents -- heck, even the whole dang school, which gathers (unrealistically) to clap when Simon (further spoiler alert!) gets the guy. This movie isn't particularly quirky or deep; it's predictable, the characters are fairly thinly drawn, and both cheese and corn make their presence known. (Were you wondering whether this movie has both a huge teen house party and a big emotional speech at a football game? Yup!) But this is the movie a gay teen could watch with the whole family -- Grandma and Grandpa, too -- and not be embarrassed. And everyone in the room would be captivated by the appealing actors, the relatable romance and teen angst, and the gentle messages about kindness, acceptance, and love.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.