I have been wanting to see the movie “Love, Simon,” since I finished the book. I adored the book and you can read my review about it here. This review is going to be more about the difference I noticed between the movie and the book and what I thought about them.
I am not going to get into the cultural significance of the movie much, mostly because as a straight person I don’t think I am the right person to talk about that. Though I will state that my brother, who is gay, adored the movie and stated that he wished it had been around when he was younger to help him understand his sexuality better.
I thought this was a fantastic adaptation of the book. I noticed minor changes but I none that took away from the story. The main story, Simon building a connection with Blue and his coming out journey remained the same. We still saw the struggles he went through, the emotional journey was very much the same which was great. I don’t think anything significant was left out or changed. It still ended up being a heartfelt story that made me just as happy at the end as the book the did.
One of the main difference I noticed was the way I felt about Martin in the movie. In the book I wrote him off, honestly really hated him. I couldn’t find any relatable or redeeming qualities about him. I despised him for blackmailing Simon and hated how he outed Simon. Even his apology in the book fell flat for me.
The movie version of Martin I found a little bit more understandable. The fact that we spent more time with him and saw him as a geeky, awkward guy who was just trying to get a girl to like him made him a bit more human for me. The whole homecoming scene really made me sympathize with him. I felt bad for him, I saw him as someone with the need to fit in and feeling like he wasn’t enough. Whereas in the book I felt like we didn’t get any of that.
That is not to say that what he did to Simon still didn’t seriously piss me off. I just didn’t hate him as much. I think there was a significant line in the movie that didn’t stand out as much for some reason in the book. Martin states that he didn’t think it was a big deal (him outing Simon) and that people still did stuff (be homophobic) like that after Simon is humiliated.
Again this may have been just because of the visual element but I think this made me realize how much of a teenager in a bubble Martin is. There are plenty of people who don’t realize how homophobic and cruel the world can be. They see their circle and think everyone is similar to them. They don’t think that anyone could be hurtful because they don’t know anyone like that. Martin was hurting and humiliated and he took revenge without thinking.
None of that in any way excuses his behavior but I felt like the movie made me understand his character better and despise him a little bit less.
One of the other differences in the movie that I liked was how we went through a small list of people to find Blue. I liked how they hinted at someone and then had them writing the emails. It kept you guessing. It also made you feel a deeper connection to Simon. You felt his elation when he thought he had figured it out and then felt that harsh disappointment when something showed him how wrong he was. I thought that was done well and made the story move along well for the movie.
Another thing I liked was his mom’s speech to him. I loved the way she talked about him holding his breath for years and finally being able to breathe and exhale out. I thought it summed up the whole idea really well and showed her support and her own struggle with trying to find out how to help him. I thought that was a great addition to the story.
I did love the reveal at the end. I knew who Blue was and had read that it was the same as the book yet I still felt nervous watching that scene. I was anxious and felt my heart beating waiting for him to appear.
I liked that it was a more public reveal as well. In the book no one else is around when his finds out who Blue is where as in the movie it is almost a whole school thing. We see the school and the people he feared telling he was gay be so supportive and excited for him. It was nice to feel that connection and joy.
I am someone who will almost always love a book more than a movie but I thought this was a great adaptation. It changed some elements and cut others (such as my favorite scene at the end of the book when they go on their first “date.”) but in the end they kept the story true to its original purpose and gave us a sweet, romance with a gay main character and a happy ending.
I highly recommend the movie if you enjoyed the book, you definitely will not be disappointed.