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Seattle actor responds to criticism his movie ‘Love, Simon’ isn’t gay enough

“Love, Simon” is the first film produced by a major studio to focus entirely on the romance of a gay high school student. For some, that still isn’t progressive enough.

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The headline for Daniel D’Addario’s article in Time Magazine reads “‘Love, Simon’ is a groundbreaking gay movie. But do today’s teens actually need it?” Here’s an excerpt:

Can a love story centered around a gay teen who is very carefully built to seem as straight as possible appeal to a generation that’s boldly reinventing gender and sexuality on its own terms?

“Love, Simon”

Seattle’s own Nick Robinson stars in the film. He told 770 KTTH’s Jason Rantz that anyone pursuing this line of criticism doesn’t understand what they’re trying to accomplish.

“This film is intentionally broad,” Robinson said. “It’s not representative of every kind of LGBTQ experience, but I think it’s a start. I think they’re missing the idea behind it. This is the first film of its kind. It’s sort of a harbinger of things to come and hopefully there will be more films like this further in the future.”

This isn’t the first time “Love, Simon” director Greg Berlanti has caused controversy with his work. He’s been writing and producing TV shows for decades, and he told Rantz he’s accustomed to this brand of dissent.

“When we were putting the first kiss on network television between two guys, we had people say we didn’t go far enough; things weren’t gay enough,” Berlanti said. “And we had people who said it was too gay to the point where I had to threaten to quit my job to get it on screen. I think change always comes with a lot of opinions.”

The Rolling Stone described “Love, Simon” as “John Hughes for ‘woke’ audiences.” While Guardian reviewer Guy Lodge acknowledged the movie feels “safe” but “there’s something strangely defiant – subversive, even – in that safeness.” Berlanti expressed a little disappointment it took this long for a movie like his to get made.

“I kind of wish some of it, or a version of it, had been told earlier,” Berlanti said. “Either way, the time is here now.”

“Love, Simon” will be in theaters Friday, March 16.

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