15 LGBTQIA+ movies to watch if you liked Love, Simon

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Edge of Seventeen

Not to be confused with the 2016 Hailee Steinfeld coming-of-age dramedy The Edge of Seventeen, Edge of Seventeen is a 1998 gay coming-of-age dramedy about a gay teen working at a local amusement park in Ohio during the summer of 1984.

Eric is just a music-obsessed teen trying to save money for college, so he and his best friend, Maggie, take a job in a fast food restaurant at the amusement park for the summer. They soon befriend their lesbian manager, Angie (played by Orange is the New Black‘s Lea DeLaria), and one of their coworkers named Rod. As it turns out, Rod is gay, and he and Eric develop a bit of a flirtatious relationship.

It’s clear that Maggie has a thing for Eric, and Eric is struggling with his feelings for Rod. The two head out on a date together on the last day of work for the summer, which ends with them hooking up in a motel. But then Rod is headed back to his college dorm for the fall semester, and Eric is stuck in another year of high school with Maggie.

As the story progresses, Eric’s look starts to get more out there, with a bleached ‘do and androgynous clothes, as he becomes more comfortable with his sexuality. After a disastrous high school party that ends with his peers yelling slurs at him, Eric starts frequenting a local gay bar, managed by none other than Angie, where he starts to feel accepted.

The movie definitely includes some queer cinema tropes, like his tearful coming-out scene with his mother, and his forced relationship with his female best friend in order to avoid his homosexuality. But it’s also important to look at how this film tackles the angle of sexual experiences and bonds between queer people in the community.

Eric’s first sexual experiences are with older men, one of which he picks up at a bar and hooks up with in the man’s car. He also loses his virginity to Rod, but Eric looks extremely uncomfortable the entire time. It reminds us that Eric is still an inexperienced teen, and the film doesn’t gloss over how uncomfortable first sexual experiences can be.

While it’s more sexual than films like Love, Simon and G.B.F., it isn’t unnecessarily vulgar. It’s all warranted for the storyline. There’s also an emphasis on gay friendships, which is demonstrated by Eric’s bond with his former manager Angie, almost as a mentor. He also finds solace in her group of older gay friends (and drag queens!).

Finding a queer group of friends is so important, and often becomes a sort of family for LGBTQIA+ people, and that’s why this movie is essential.