Book to Film Review: Love, Simon

If you have even half of a heart beating inside your chest, Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli wrapped its way around that organ and squeezed in the best way. Simon Spier is a character that readers couldn’t help but fall in love with.

I ‘ll admit, I was quite late to the Simon/Becky train. I only finished the book mere days before the film adaptation, Love, Simon, hit theaters. However, it absolutely lived up to the reader adoration that I’ve seen blasted across social media for the past few weeks. I spent 36 hours in Simon’s world–smiling like a lunatic as I read on my commutes, but other New Yorkers are used to those odd things happening in front of them–and was suddenly very, very excited to see this movie.

In the novel, Simon is a gay teenager who hasn’t yet figured out how to reveal this fact to his family and friends. Unfortunately, someone else decides to blackmail him with this information and Simon is left with some tough choices to face as he slowly but surely falls in love with an anonymous teen in a similar situation that he’s been emailing. The result is a sometimes hilarious, at times heartbreaking, and ultimately joyful story.

The film adaptation, directed by Greg Berlanti and starring Everything Everything‘s Nick Robinson, was sure to be a tear-jerker and a feel-good story. It delivered.

Like every reader, I immediately noticed the changes that were made from the book. That can sometimes be detrimental to the story, but I don’t think that was the case here. There are some heartwarming and pure moments in this movie that distracted me from the fact that some of my favorite scenes were absent.

(Warning: slight spoilers ahead.)

There is one particular scene between Simon and his mother (played by Jennifer Garner) that was a subtly overwhelming moment that I still don’t quite have the words to describe. After he comes out to his parents and sister, his mother reminds him that he is deserving of love and that he has his entire life ahead of him.

We also must acknowledge the beautifully diverse cast featured in this film. As I mentioned to someone recently, as happy as I am to see diversity where it is right now, there is still a long way to go and I will not be truly satisfied until it’s just the standard. Until then, though, I can very much appreciate the way it was done here.

This book and movie celebrates the LGBTQ community and reminds many of the youngest members of the strength they have to tear down the barriers that society erects in their lives. The other side of that is its profound reminder to people who may judge or discriminate that there’s nothing at all different about someone whose sexuality is not the same as yours (No one should actually need this reminder, in my opinion, but if this book or movie changes minds and hearts, they have more than done their job and the world will be better off.)

Love, Simon is in theaters now. Buy Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli here.

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