It’s rather painful to write this because I actually did and do adore Love, Simon. It’s a brilliant story that I hope helps and brings comfort to those going through a similar predicament. However, this isn’t a review of the film, if you want that then you can go here. This is sort of a review of the impact it had on my mental health.
As we know I struggle with jealousy and so advanced screenings, journalist screenings, private screenings, celebrity interviews and other such media benefits have had me sort of unsure as to whether life is worth it recently. I’ve been such a huge fan of the book and the film since I saw the trailer that it actually caused me to have a mental breakdown seeing other people getting these benefits. (Fun story, I actually had to leave work early because of a mental breakdown after seeing Riyadh Khalaf post on twitter an excerpt from his interview with Nick Robinson and Katherine Langford).
My first thought of this film was about how old it made me feel. I’m not a teenager anymore, pushing close to my thirties if we’re being honest, and I struggle with the idea of life not having as much opportunity as it does when we’re teenagers. Simon talks about how everything will be different when he goes off to University and can live as himself, I miss having this optimism because I certainly don’t see a lot of hope in my future.
Along with feeling old, this made me feel like my best days are behind me. My time to achieve anything has gone and the cast of this film is primarily younger than me and so they’ve already achieved more in their life than I ever will. I struggle with not blaming my parents for this because of the way I was raised and the singular focus on traditional masculine pursuits (mainly sports because acting was not a consideration of my parents).
And do you ever get nostalgic for your teenage years? Not just the blind optimism that comes with them but that almost total lack of responsibility you have? I still don’t know how to be an adult properly and I don’t feel I properly progressed from being a teenager to being an adult so now I just feel like a broken adult.
As much as I miss my teenage years, I’m also quite sad that they weren’t as entertaining. Like, my first kiss wasn’t until I was twenty-one, I never went to high-school dances, I’ve never had a boyfriend, and never got invited to parties and it’s these sort of “firsts” (the cliche ones you see in all teenage movies) that I just somehow feel like I missed out on. I never did the usual teenage thing of just cutting loose and having fun and so when Simon gets drunk and sings Karaoke at a party it made me wish I had days like that as a teenager. Or when he gets a kiss on the Ferris Wheel. Or when he kisses Blue when they get into the car. It’s all just that teenage feeling that I’m nostalgic for, although can you be nostalgic for something you’ve only ever seen in movies and never experienced?
As you’ve probably guessed by the title of the film Love, Simon is a love story. I find it very difficult to swallow because it’s an uplifting, positive gay love story and I just don’t feel that same positivity towards my own love life. Not only do I miss the idea of a hopeful future but I also feel that I will be eternally single and so the idea of somebody else having a happy love story is a difficult idea for me to accept. Let’s also not mention about how I had to go to the cinema on my own to see this film because I have basically zero friends at this time.
Okay and let’s be honest, Nick Robinson is hot. I get this feeling with hot guys all the time. I love seeing them (because let’s face it, who doesn’t?) but at the same time I feel my crippling ugliness and insignificance just reinforced by their beauty. And so the inevitable beauty I see in them soon just turns into hatred for myself and it becomes very difficult to see them (this happens with real people too, not just celebrities) without feeling like dirt on their shoe.
And let’s talk about the teachers in the film. The teachers jump on any hint of homophobia and try to stomp it out immediately. This isn’t real life. I went through years of bullying and the teachers, despite numerous complaints, did absolutely nothing about it. This is why I don’t get a very positive mental attitude whenever school situations are portrayed. Also the classmates rally around Simon and support him when he needs it. Something else that wasn’t realistic for me. Sure, I had friends who supported me (I argue that maybe that shouldn’t be plural) but never did I receive the kind of support from other students or teachers that Simon does.
My depression is also a product of my own daydreams too. For a while I’ve had this idea that Charley, a guy who comes into my workplace and is openly gay, would be at the screening. He’d see me, recognise me from work and then, after the film, would come up to me and talk to me. Yeah, my brain really just sets me up for disappointment because realistically I know the chances of that happening are very low but there’s a tiny bit of my brain that believes there’s a possibility and that part seems to have priority. So you can imagine the onset of depression when I’m sat in a room with not only no Charley but no gay guys in general, and instead it’s full of teenage girls and their mums.