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'Love, Simon' Is Groundbreaking Feature Film for the LGBTQ Youth

'Love, Simon' Is Groundbreaking Feature Film for the LGBTQ Youth
(Amanda Edwards/WireImage, @guskenworthy/Twitter)

Finally, a gay leading character is featured in a mainstream teen romantic dramedy that is garnering much praise for its history-making precedent in cinema.

Nick Robinson stars in the role of a lifetime as the gay protagonist in 20th Century Fox's Love, Simon, which is stealing hearts in theaters and empowering others to come out.

Robinson, 22, is a straight actor and told the Los Angeles Times he was nervous about portraying a gay character because he felt like it wasn't "his place" to authentically draw from unfamiliar life experiences.

There were still some tremors from past times where that was frowned upon. I think that's kind of unfounded, and that audiences are accepting enough now to understand that either way you go, it's a character.
There are also certain stereotypes that this film works to break down — but it's complicated, because you can be playing into the heteronormative, cisgender thing. So it's a tightrope.

The Seattle native told Ellen DeGeneres that his role in the heart-warming film inspiring his younger brother to come out of the closet during filming was the coolest part.

One of the best things that came out of this movie is being able to talk to him. I think...the strength of a film like this is it starts a conversation. I hope that it can do that for more people and start a conversation that otherwise may not have been there.

Co-star Keiynan Lonsdale also came out after production on the film wrapped.

The film focuses on Simon, a closeted teen, who contemplates coming out in a social media-obsessed world. The character's sexual preference is established from the start, something that the director did not want to downplay.

In an interview with NPR, director Greg Berlanti explained his take on rom-com tropes.

We were really conscious throughout of having as many of the traditions and tropes that one would find in — whether it was a young adult romantic comedy or an adult romantic comedy — so that by changing the gender of the romantic interest, and actually having a gay protagonist at the center of it, we would be honoring a lot of those traditions, but also circumventing them.

Berlanti, who's also a showrunner for TV shows like Riverdale and The Flash, lobbied to work on the film after finding out that the 2015 novel "Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda" by Becky Albertalli was to be adapted into a feature film.

After he read the script for Love, Simon, he wondered why he inexplicably sobbed at the end. He realized the story profoundly resonated with him because he related to the main character.

I had been a closeted teen myself, and I just realized just the power of representation in something like this was so evocative for me.

Love, Simon also resonated deeply with the LGBTQ community for obvious reasons, but the fact that Hollywood finally banked on featuring a gay teenager in a major studio film was a big deal.

Olympian Gus Kenworthy was ecstatic over the film and the attention it was receiving. "Y'all NEED to see Love, Simon! It's funny, cute, earnest and it will go down in history for breaking the mold on what a coming-of-age romance movie can be! I'm so happy that LGBTQ kids will grow up with this movie available to them," he tweeted. "Times they are a-changing."

This is an important film for so many reasons.

Simon is literally changing lives.

H/T - Twitter, Independent, NPR, LAtimes, Refinery29