We’ve already reported on Love, Simon, and its groundbreaking attempt at mainstreaming queer teen love stories for Middle America. Now, a new trailer and poster for the movie are working even harder to normalize the main character’s sexual orientation.
After portraying Simon as a white bread, solidly middle class white male with a loving, supportive family and no apparent signs of mental illness, the trailer literally has Simon say, “For the most part, my life is totally normal.”
Translation: “Look, mainstream audiences! Here’s a character you can totally relate to! There’s just that one pesky thing about his sexual orientation, but we promise you’ll sympathize with it by the end of the movie!”
Simon even adds that he and his friends “drink way too much iced coffee while gorging on carbs,” which is kind of like when beautiful, skinny Instagram influencers attempt to appear relatable by admitting to eating things. (“Omg, can you believe I ate an entire Dorito? Lol, #cheatday #fatslob #whyamievenalive”)
Of course, all of this is very quotidian for those of us queer folk who have adopted a “been there done that” approach to white, “straight-acting” middle class gay men (in life and in movies.) And spoiler alert: the actor playing Simon, Nick Robinson, while talented, is as straight-acting as they come. But for the intended targets of Love, Simon — i.e., centrist and even conservative hetero audiences of all generations — this character is nothing short of revolutionary.
At one point in the trailer, Simon even seems to summarize the problem of queer representation in movies when he says, “I deserve a great love story, and I want someone to share it with.”
Meanwhile, a brand new Bleachers song — the first single to be released from the film’s soundtrack — seems to simultaneously normalize and otherize Simon’s orientation. “Back then, we were caught in a love song / No not so typical love song / Cause it hurt us again and again,” sings Jack Antanoff in the boppy “Alfie’s Song.”
Overall, Love, Simon looks like it will be an effective, affecting movie that might even connect with some audiences who wouldn’t have been predisposed to care about a relatively adjusted queer character. And in a Hollywood which rarely presents queer characters as likeable protagonists — let alone in romantic comedies — we should be thankful. Should be.