At the conclusion of the new teen romantic comedy Love, Simon, every single person sitting in the cinema with me let out a primal, blood-curdling scream.
Not because it’s some kind of creepy horror flick masquerading as a love story, or because a strange and unexplained fire had somehow broken out during the Sydney premiere screening.
It was because the movie had built to such an intense, beautiful and tear-inducing finale that moments before the credits finally rolled, the audience were so awash with emotion that they couldn’t help but start shouting.
The premise of Love, Simon is that everyone deserves a great love story. And this movie certainly delivers on that, but with one twist.
The movie follows high school senior Simon Spier (Nick Robinson, best known for his role in Jurassic World) who, from the outside, appears to have a somewhat perfect life. Except for the fact that he’s yet to tell his family or friends that he’s gay and he lives in fear of his secret being revealed before he’s ready to share it.
In order to have someone to talk through his feelings with, Simon starts a secret email relationship with another closeted classmate at his school. But when one of his emails falls into the wrong hands, his secret quickly threatens to go public.
From the tight-knit group of high school students struggling with their impending move into adulthood, while also navigating complicated long-term friendships and budding, sweet romances, Love, Simon is exactly the kind of gooey, gushing teen rom-com we all remember growing up with.
This time around it’s just heaped with a whole lot more realistic and inclusive characters.
In fact, it's the kind of movie we should have had around decades ago. But at least we can breathe a sigh of relief that it's here now.
However, even though the film has now come out smelling like roses thanks to early rave reviews, the stars of Love, Simon said that at the time of filming they had no idea that the gamble would actually pay off.
Speaking to Mamamia while in Australia to launch the film, stars Nick Robinson and Katherine Langford (the Aussie actress who plays Simon's best friend Leah and is best known for her starring role in 13 Reasons Why) said there was a lot of pressure around bringing to life the first big studio film centering on a gay teenager.
“I had certain hesitations before we started filming," Nick told Mamamia Entertainment Editor Laura Brodnik. "I didn’t feel that it was necessarily my place to be telling this story. But in conversations with (director) Greg Berlanti he convinced me that I was the right person. I believed in him and in this story of inclusion and acceptance. I think we could use more of it."
"With Love, Simon I think everyone realised the importance of telling a story like this," agreed Katherine. "I didn't anticipate the reaction to the film, my focus at the time was on making the best film possible. But it's definitely something I’ve become more aware of.
"I have always felt like an ally and I have a lot of friends who are part of the LGTBIQ community. Now, being able to come home with a film like this, when we’ve just voted yes on such a monumental thing, it feels very needed.
"The LGBTQI community have been around forever and they are not going anywhere. There is so much power in representation and this film has really highlighted the importance of that. In many ways, a film like this is very overdue. It’s very timely that it’s coming out now when there’s such a vocal youth, who are demanding to have their stories told and to be represented and recognised."
Watch Love, Simon star Katherine Langford tell Mamamia Entertainment Editor Laura Brodnik about why this film is so important.
No matter how it does at the box office, the movie, which is based on Becky Albertalli’s acclaimed novel of the same name, is already actively changing lives according to Katherine.
"The first screening of the movie I was able to go to was in New York and we had a social influencer introduce the film," said Katherine.
"She said 'this movie changed my life' and I had this moment where I just realised the potential this film had. It’s really the first moment where a queer teenage audience is seeing someone who somewhat resembles them and looks like them on screen like this.
"I’ve personally heard a lot of people tell me that watching this film has helped them come to terms with their sexuality and also given them the courage to come out. For representation, you need to see people who look like you and tell your story so that you don’t feel so alone."
Watching Love, Simon on the big screen will give you the same kind of butterflies you get after a perfect first kiss.
And just be assured that during that final scene, it's OK to scream.
Love, Simon is in cinemas Australia wide from today. It is rated M.
For more film and TV reviews, you can follow Mamamia Entertainment Editor Laura Brodnik on Facebook.