Book Rating: 4.95 out of 5 magical worlds where everything is made of Oreos.
Movie Rating: 4.5 out of 5 kisses on the Ferris Wheel
So, yeah, Simon the book is sweet and adorable and heartwarming, and the movie, though it has a few adaptation-related issues, is one I’d be willing to see again. Maybe even buy myself a DVD copy.
Things I especially liked (in the book):
- The bully isn’t a cliche — he’s not a jock or the Most Popular Guy In School. He’s a goofy nerd who kind of grows on you, even though he’s being a total jerk.
- You know what else has apparently grown on me? The present-tense p.o.v. in non-
Hunger-Games books. Honestly, I didn’t even notice it until about a quarter of the way through the book. The story hooked me that well. Or maybe it only works in first-person stories, I don’t know. I just know it was not at all the usual turn-off it is in other books.
- The story has good messages, but it’s not messagey. And it’s uplifting, but it’s not a Utopia; it still acknowledges the real problems LGBT teens have to deal with, even in more progressive places like Atlanta.
- That one college guy in the bar. He is totally the classiest. When he finds out Simon is underage, he’s all, Oh, no, I respect you way too much to keep flirting with you. I’m just gonna take you back to your friends so they can get you home safe. THE CLASSIEST.
- Did I mention how romantic and sweet and mushy-in-a-good-way this book is? Simon and “Blue” are the sweetest!
Things I especially liked (in the movie):
- That scene where Simon imagines what it would be like if straight people had to come out to their parents, and their parents reacted with the same drama. It’s freaking hilarious.
- The Ferris Wheel kiss was THE LOVELIEST THING EVER.
- Jennifer Garner was wonderful. I thought they were going to typecast her as the eye-rollingly goofy/awkward mom, but she felt really natural and sincere. Her big speech about how much she loves Simon exactly as he is made me a bit teary-eyed, tbh.
- Random thing is random, but I actually clapped out loud when Simon listed David Bowie and Bing Crosby’s “Little Drummer Boy” as one of the greatest Christmas songs ever. Fifty points to the house of your choice, Simon, for your impeccable taste.
- SPOILERS AHEAD. Skip to the next section if you haven’t read the book.
Ok, this one was almost a huge turn-off. They almost spoiled the Blue reveal within the first twenty minutes, but then they totally saved themselves by making it a fake-out. As in, Simon thinks he figures out who Blue is, but then sees the guy kissing a girl, so he has to keep guessing throughout the movie, until the end, when he realizes his first guess was right after all.
Things that bugged me (in the movie):
- They thin-washed Leah. Not cool.
- They made the Blue reveal a big public thing, when in the book, Simon made a point to ask Blue privately about meeting in person, so as not to force him to come out to everyone before he was ready. Then again, I do get that the more dramatic reveal fits a rom-com, and it is really nice to see a gay couple get that much positive attention — even excitement — from their classmates, and ok, it did work as a nice counter-point to the Homecoming Game scene, so maybe I’ll give it a pass.
- SPOILERS AHEAD….. The cheesy vice principal was mostly added for extra comic relief, which would have been fine (I totally laughed out loud when he pulled his hat over his eyes during Martin’s disastrous Homecoming game performance), except when his jokes come off as awkwardly homophobic. Like when he at first seems to be really concerned about Simon’s well-being after the Creeksecrets outing, only to make a point that, “Woah, just so we’re clear, when I said we had a lot in common, I didn’t mean that.” Or when he assumes that Simon and Ethan are a couple because they’re the only out gay people at school.
- This is a minor thing, but why did they change Simon’s G-mail username? Did they not get the rights to use Elliott Smith’s lyrics? Or did they not want to bother explaining what hourtohour.notetonote means, so they went with the more generic frommywindow?
The only thing I’d change (in the book):
I would have made it a little more clear that, even though it’s definitely not Simon’s jam, cross-dressing is totally normal and acceptable as long as you’re doing it in a respectful way (i.e. understanding that gender is a spectrum, and there’s nothing crazy or weird about someone with traditionally masculine traits wearing traditionally feminine clothing), and nothing to get squicked out about. I get the feeling that the book was trying to make the point that, hey, not all gay people are into things like cross-dressing, and also maybe pointing out that “gender-bending” as a Spirit Week activity tends to be done in a disrespectful way, but it just wasn’t entirely clear.
Simon the book is wonderful, and, issues aside, Love, Simon is a pretty awesome movie. The fact that we finally have an LGBT-teen-starring romantic comedy from a major film studio is, of course, amazing, and makes me hopeful we’ll see more LGBT YA book adaptations. Seven Tears at High Tide the Movie, plz! Let’s add America Chavez to the Marvel Cinematic Universe!
What about you, La La Landers? What LGBT YA’s would you like to see adapted into movies?