The Grizzly Growl

Are Our Hearts Loud Enough?

Jessica McMann, News Editor

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Watching Hearts Beat Loud in contrast to Love Simon was, while a definitely classy feeling, a bit inconvenient. Just to see the film in a theater, it took a 30-minute Trax ride to get to the Broadway Center Cinemas Theater, and it was a bit of a walk after that. The relative inaccessibility of the only theater (in the entire state) to play the film, considering the film’s target audience was teens, was a definite disappointment.

Hearts Beat Loud is a movie centered on a girl named Sam and her father. The story is about her leaving home and dealing with losing both her girlfriend and her dad. Love, Simon is more about dealing with coming to terms with your sexuality as the main character, Simon, begins the process of coming out while messaging a mystery boy from his school.

Hearts Beat Loud focuses, instead of on a romance, a story. The relationship, while being a big part of the story, doesn’t come close to all of it. The main character, Sam (Kiersey Clemons), is unapologetically queer, and it’s a non issue. Her quote-on-quote ‘gayness’ isn’t the plot in the slightest. The plot instead circles around sam and her father (Nick Offerman) and how their relationship develops through music. The story doesn’t end in happily ever after, because it doesn’t need to. It’s made for someone who’s experienced incredibly difficult decisions, and chose to stick to their true selves regardless. Both of those messages seem to reflect the gay message much more than a simplistic relationship developing like in Love, Simon.

Love, Simon was played in nearly every theater in America. A big contrast to Hearts Beat Loud. I think this fact makes more of a statement than the film industry would like to admit. Citing a study by GLADD, which formerly stood for The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, The L.A. Times stated that, “[Gay] characters outnumbered [lesbians] by a ratio of more than three to one. More than three quarters of inclusive films (77%) featured gay male characters while less than a quarter (23%) included lesbian characters.” The ratio of gay to lesbian characters is already skewed, and bringing in the amount of press given to the movies brings it to a whole new level.

Hearts Beat Loud stars Nick Offerman, among others. That alone should be a huge selling point on the movie, considering his fame. Despite that, the movie still only made $300,000 dollars after subtracting the production costs. Love, Simon made 50 million.

Love, Simon was produced by a major production company, 20th Century Fox, which definitely contributed to its success. Even so, this still leaves the factor of there not being any non-indie production companies making lesbian films. This conclusion leads you to think perhaps production companies and the audience they provide for find gay men more palatable.

This all seems to be pointing towards a misogyny even within (and outside of) a marginalized group like the LGBTQ+ community. We live in a culture where straight women write a majority of gay male fiction. Even the book Love, Simon was based on was written by a straight woman.

While I am still wildly grateful for the spread of media on LGBTQ+ in general, having it be a caricatured and unrealistic version isn’t helpful. Representation is huge in youth especially in the community. An LGBT Copper Hills Student said on the subject, “Representation did affect me in a positive way because growing up I always knew what being gay was, so seeing it in [media] made it a lot easier to accept myself when I realized my sexuality.”

Realism seems to mark the biggest difference between Hearts Beat Loud and Love, Simon.

Hearts Beat Loud didn’t achieve the success it deserved, but it does mark the beginning of a change. Soon queer media will just be queer media, rather than straight dogma, directing the imagined gays lives.

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Are Our Hearts Loud Enough?