Love, Simon – book vs. movie review

Y’all, Love, Simon is finally out and I’m so happy.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli is one of my favorite YA contemporaries and I’ve been looking forward to this movie release for what feels like forever! Luckily, I just reread the book last week in preparation for the movie, so it’s fresh in my mind for me to compare the two.

So first . . .

Thoughts on the book:

Becky Albertalli has this easy style of writing that just flows so naturally that I can fly through her books so quickly and I don’t even realize that I’ve read 250 pages in a single sitting. Which . . . is exactly what happened the other day.

I can’t help but love Simon (hehehe, see what I did there?) and basically every other character in this book. They feel like real people. Even just within Simon’s family, every member is so fleshed out – they’re a loving, supportive family but not without anxieties and occasional awkwardness. And dynamics between Simon and his friends are so complex and multi-layered. Yet they’re all portrayed so effortlessly through Simon’s somewhat clueless narration.

And Simon is such a lovable character, with his obliviousness and his nerdiness and his Oreo-loving-ness and his anxiety about his identity. Seriously, is there any way to read this book and not freaking love him (as he would say)?

I honestly can’t even think of any complaints that I have about this book. The relationship between Simon and Blue is literally the cutest thing I have ever read and I basically burst into tears every time I think about it. The only bad thing about this book is that it ends.

(But OMG I’m so excited for Leah On the Offbeat next month!!!)

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Thoughts on the movie:

I was so so so nervous going into this, but you guys, it was amazing.

Okay, I’m no film critic, so I can’t tell you anything about the actual quality of this movie, but as a lover of cheesy romcoms and a fan of the book, I fully endorse it. There were obviously changes between book and movie, but most of them I understood and was totally okay with. And I cried three times, so.

Here are the things that I loved in the movie: (mild spoilers – nothing that you won’t know if you’ve read the book)

  • Simon. Was. Adorable. I really liked the actor who played him! He did a great job of capturing Simon’s awkwardness – and oh boy, was he awkward. Basically every scene with Simon and a cute boy was so adorably cringey. I love that he basically falls in love with any boy who looks at him who might be gay.
  • The friendships between the main group are so cute! I loved Abby a lot a lot and I think they captured her character perfectly. And Nick was so hilarious and cute (his reaction to Blue at the end ehehehe).
  • Guys, Bram was so cute with his sticky-out ears and his big grins. Basically exactly how I pictured him in the book. And I’m really glad that they included more of him in the movie, which let us get to know him a little better! The Halloween party with him and Simon singing karaoke together was perfect.
  • The scene where Simon comes out to Abby – oh boy. It was so powerful and well acted. Simon’s anxiousness was visceral and Abby’s awkward support was so real.
  • Also, the scene where Simon comes out to his family. The way he couldn’t quite meet their eyes, and how he immediately started defending himself when they didn’t say anything, and how his sister jumped to his rescue when his dad said something awkward. Then those scenes later when he talks with both his parents, and his mom’s line about how “now you get to exhale.” I may have been crying a little (a lot) during those scenes. They were so well done.
  • OKAY and the scene where Simon confronts Martin. It was just . . . ugh, you could feel Simon’s pain and fury and the betrayal. Martin was the absolute worst and I wanted to scream at him along with Simon. It felt good to see Simon saying exactly what I was feeling in that moment.
  • The move kept so many little book details! Like Simon’s dog Bieber, and the Oreos, and his crush on Daniel Radcliffe, and the little “hour to hour, note to note” on his chalkboard. And he had an Elliot Smith poster!
  • Simon’s imagination . . . omg. I love that they really played this up in the movie and made it so that Simon imagined different people as Blue. It was so sneaky and misleading! Which made the moments that he realized those people weren’t Blue more devastating, and the final reveal all the more satisfying!
  • Speaking of which, there’s a scene where Simon is imagining what college will be like and it’s honestly the best addition to the movie. I was actually crying with laughter.
  • I really appreciated how Simon became more comfortable with saying “I’m gay.” In the beginning, he couldn’t even type it in his first email to Blue, and when Martin started blackmailing him he couldn’t say it aloud, but eventually he was able to say it to his friends and his family without shame. I liked that a lot.
  • Kind of obvious, but the final reveal at the end was so perfect. I loved hearing everyone in the theatre gasp together! Of course it was cheesy, but it was the perfect ending to a practically perfect movie.

Here are the things that I wasn’t as pleased with:

  • I do wish Simon had been a little nerdier. I mean, they kept some of his nerdiness, mostly around theatre and music (he had a Hamilton Playbill!), but we lost some other aspects of his nerdiness (namely, his Harry Potter obsession). (Like, just the fact that book!Simon wears glasses because he thinks it makes him look like Harry Potter makes me love him so much.)
  • Okay. (⚠Slightly larger movie spoiler ahead⚠) I didn’t like that in the movie Leah was in love with Simon instead of Nick. I don’t know – in the book, I really liked the fact that Simon and Leah had known each other for a long time and have this strong and unique connection without having feelings for each other. And like . . . Leah being in love with Simon just feels a little cheap? And I get that it makes it more dramatic, but it was still plenty dramatic with Leah liking Nick, so. *sigh*
  • In general, Leah’s character wasn’t exactly how I imagined her. She’s 100% a Slytherin in the book, the master of the deadpan, and an anime nerd, but she was a little too . . . cool in the movie. (Like, she was still pretty awkward but, like Simon, not quite nerdy enough, or snarky, or passive aggressive.)
  • I get why his friends were so upset when the Martin situation came out, but I wish they had been more supportive when their friend was outed to their entire school. It seemed kind of cruel to abandon him like that.
  • They didn’t have the gay bar scene! That was one of my favorite scenes in the book! Hoping it’s a deleted scene or something, so I can still see it someday.
  • Also a little disappointed they didn’t have Blue giving Simon the Elliot Smith shirt, because that was freaking adorable.
  • Other little scenes they left out that I’m a little sad about: Simon calling soccer tryouts “auditions” and getting flustered; Simon dressing as a dementor for Halloween; the first date scene with Simon and Blue with the grocery store and the Oreos; the talent show at the end with Leah and Nora in the girl band.

That looks like a long list of not good things, but it’s just because I have a lot of thoughts. I loved the movie so much! I really hope it opens up the genre to more diverse teen romcoms, and paves the way for LGBT main characters in more mainstream movies. This is such an important milestone! And on top of that it was an all around great movie that I’ve wanted to rewatch since an hour after leaving the theatre!

Have you seen Love, Simon or read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda? What did you think? What was your favorite part?

x Margaret

5 thoughts on “Love, Simon – book vs. movie review

  1. Pingback: March Wrap Up | seeing Hamilton and reading 12 books! – Weird Zeal

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