I really liked Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli, when I read it in 2016. So, I was elated to see the first trailer for the movie. Now that HBO has it, I finally watched Love, Simon a week ago. It’s an okay but bland movie.
What I liked:
- The movie largely sticks to what is in the book. The plot is fine. The conflict between Simon and Martin is fine. The parents’ general involvement in their kids’ lives is okay, if typical for YA.
- I liked the way the conflict between Simon and Martin started when it shows how Martin came across those emails. It’s clearer how that happened.
- Blue is sweet, but I would have liked to see more of him in some capacity.
- The easter egg of “Hour to Hour, Note to Note,” written on Simon’s chalkboard wall, is cute.
- I liked the incorporation of social media, like video chats, Tumblr (even though it’s not mentioned by name), and Tindr.
- The replacement for the Dementor costume was alright because it showed how close of friend he and Leah are. I like that they were John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
- I love that Abby isn’t pressured to start dating Martin when he makes a very public spectacle of his declaration of love for her. She held her ground.
- Nora is an amazing little sister. She accepts that Simon is gay and stands up to her parents about their strange behavior that comes from the revelation.
- I like one memory where Simon suddenly wanted to go home and texted his mom that the kids were drinking alcohol so that she would come get him.
- Speaking of memories, it’s sweet that Simon helps his dad make a better anniversary video.
- I like the shots from Simon’s imagination. I like the hypothetical way the world would work if straight teens had to come out. It’s a nice satire. I like Simon’s imagining of how college in L.A. will be because it plays off the previous moments of straight teens coming out to their parents.
What bothered me:
- The imagination sequences would make the movie stronger if they were used more than two times.
- Most of the adults made me cringe. The teachers of the school seemed the most unreal. I’m annoyed by the vice principal who was talking about his sex life and dating life on Tindr with a student. In what world would this happen? The drama teacher is pretty cool. But as much as I appreciate the drama teacher standing up for Simon when he’s publicly bullied, her delivery wouldn’t have been acceptable in a public high school.
- Was it absolutely necessary for the vice principal to act like Simon and Ethan were in a romantic relationship just because they were both out?
- Why don’t the parents act more like they do in the book? I loved that the mom was a child psychologist in the book and actually grounded her child. The movie version of this mom is not the same. I’m pretty sure that it was barely touched on what her career is, and she doesn’t seem to do much.
- The movie tries too hard to reveal Blue’s identity to the audience in the first 30 minutes. When I read the book, I knew who he was in the first 100 pages, but I don’t think it was as in-your-face as the movie makes it. I prefer there to be more mystery.
- I can’t say that I became attached to any of the movie characters. Not even Simon.
- Finally, the movie felt bland. It’s been a couple of years since I read the book, but the tones of both book and movie do not resonate with each other to me.
I understand the importance of this movie, and I love the book it’s based on. The trailers and the hype sold me on watching it, but it didn’t live up to the fame. I feel like I’m missing something from the book that I don’t quite remember but loved. Ultimately, this is another book-to-movie adaptation where I prefer the book.