Film Review: 'Love, Simon' (Spoiler Free)

January 24, 2018

Everyone deserves a great love story. But for seventeen-year old Simon Spier it’s a little more complicated: he’s yet to tell his family or friends he’s gay and he doesn’t actually know the identity of the anonymous classmate he’s fallen for online. Resolving both issues proves hilarious, terrifying and life-changing. Directed by Greg Berlanti (Riverdale, The Flash, Supergirl), written by Isaac Aptaker & Elizabeth Berger (This is Us), and based on Becky Albertalli’s acclaimed novel, LOVE, SIMON is a funny and heartfelt coming-of-age story about the thrilling ride of finding yourself and falling in love.

“Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda” by Becky Albertalli

Nick Robinson, Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp, Jorge Lendeborg Jr., Miles Heizer, Keiynan Lonsdale, Logan Miller, Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel, Tony Hale.

Thanks to the wonderful teams at Penguin Teen Australia and 20th Century Fox, I was among the lucky and exclusive group of bloggers, readers, and fans who were able to attend a free advanced screening of the highly anticipated teen flick, 'Love, Simon', last night at the Penguin Teen Showcase 2018. The night was fabulous, spent fangirling over all things Young Adult fiction as the team at Penguin showcased their 2017-2018 releases, both AusYA and International, before joining conversation with talented Australian authors Margot McGovern and Shivaun Plozza. 

It was wonderful to be apart of such a awesomely bookish audience, united over our excitement for new upcoming releases and of course, Simon Spier. I for one left the showcase extremely excited for 'Leah on the Offbeat' by Becky Albertalli, 'Misfit' by Charli Howard, 'The Dangerous Art of Blending In' by Angelo Surmelis, and 'Tin Heart' by Shivaun Plozza - to name a few! Mostly however, I left totally obsessed with all things 'Love, Simon', desperate to watch it again and again.

As many of us readers are familiar with, Becky Albertali is capable of magic. With only two novels to her name at present (with more on the way), she is an absolute treasure to the world of Young Adult fiction. I must admit it took her most recent release, 'The Upside of Unrequited', for me to enter the world of Albertali but once you enter, there's no going back. I loved pretty much everything about it, I related to the novels protagonist, Molly, hardcore! I think about re-reading it at least once a week. It's just that brilliant, relatable and heartwarming. It's not often I connect to a book as strongly as I was able to with 'The Upside of Unrequited.' Given this, during the Christmas break I finally got around to reading her highly and rightly praised debut, 'Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda'. 

I can't tell you how long I've had 'Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda' on my TBR, literally ages. Yet I kept dodging it because I was admittedly intimated by the crazy and seemingly insurmountable level of hype surrounding it. I'm happy to say that the novel does indeed live up to the hype and is easily finished in one sitting, demanding your full attention for a few marvelous hours of the day. The cast of characters are majorly lovable, the dialogue is entertaining and the plot is well...everything. 

One key factor that always draws a huge and loyal following to Albertalli's novels is that she isn't afraid of Diversity, in all or any of its forms. In fact, it's one of the strengths of her writing that she is always inclusive of diverse and typically underrepresented identities, providing these characters with the stories they well and truly deserve. Both novels portray characters of colour, 'The Upside of Unrequited' features a fat protagonist and 'Simon vs the Homo Spaiens Agenda' features a gay protagonist - two unlikely stars given YA fictions tendency to focus on the narratives of conventionally bodied, straight, and white individuals. As a result, 'Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda' is so important to many people and ensuring its transition into film was faithful and well done was vital to the communities who saw themselves in Simon and his coming of age story. This was evidently not taken lightly by the team involved in the production of 'Love, Simon', the novels adaptation. 

The film was AMAZING! It honestly exceeded my extremely high expectations. Without giving away any details, there are definitely a few noticeable changes from the novel but they are all true to the heart of the story and compliment its transition into film. In fact, they were all changes that upt the anti and made the film more engaging, so while they'll for sure stick out to devout fans of the novel, they're nothing to worry about. I thought they were all advantageous and worthwhile decisions that only benefited the storyline.

The film's tagline reads 'Everyone deserves a Great Love Story' and 'Love, Simon' is that and more. LGBTI representation in this day and age isn't just some concept to toy with from time to time but instead a necessity. The power of 'Love, Simon' comes from the fact that the director and producers gave just as much magic and attention to the love story of two closeted gay teenagers interacting online as they would to any of the countless heterosexual romance stories that typically grace our screens. 

Just like any other film, 'Love, Simon' has a talented and perfectly chosen cast, a great soundtrack, overwhelming cuteness, suspense, a pretty location and a super aesthetic set (can I please have Simon's room?) and an epic kissing scene that wasn't shied away from nor sexualised in the weird way that gay kissing scenes usually are when marketed to straight audiences. It was just as accessible and just as captivating as any of 20th Century Fox's other book adaptations, such as 'The Fault In Our Stars'. In fact, I'd dare say that it in my humble opinion, the film was more enjoyable than any of the studio's predecessors. 'Love, Simon' could perhaps be the antidote to the dominantly heteronormative nature of film and literature. It could be the beginning of so much more and I am SO here for it!

My view from the audience before the film began.

I was initially a tad skeptical of some casting decisions, however after actually watching the film, I cannot critique a single choice. The whole cast excels in their roles and it was refreshing to see how each and every character in the film was taken advantage of, fully characterised and given great dialogue. Even the teachers at Simon's school who either had minimal roles in the novel or didn't exist, were fleshed out and made engaging. The dialogue is dripping with humour, providing the film with numerous laugh out load moments. As one of the first audiences to see the film, we ended up audibly applauding particular scenes that really got us! That was kind of audience goals to be honest, Becky you should be proud!

As I mentioned, the cast is A+ with a cool combination of familiar and up and coming faces! But most notably, Nick Robinson absolutely shines as our beloved Simon Spier. He perfectly captured both Simon's lovable and endearing nature and his silent frustration and longing for normalcy. He is a breath of fresh air whom you can't help but be invested in. As far as I'm concerned, Nick Robinson is Simon Spier and I will fight to the death for him! 

Other notable mentions include Josh Duhamel and Jennifer Garner as Simon's parent's who were so lovely. The family dynamic represented in the film is just as amazing as it is in the novel, it's a truly special and standout component of the story that provided many emotional moments that brought me to the verge of tears. Similarly, Simon's circle of friends were also top notch, making me long for an invite in. Even Katherine Langford as Leah, surpassed my expectations, as I must admit I had my doubts about her. Interestingly, her role as Leah was seemingly more involved than in the novel, presumably given the attention the young Aussie actress received as Hannah in Netflix's 'Thirteen Reasons Why.' Lastly, Keiynan Lonsdale, you are too precious for this world and I freaking love you.  That is all.

'Love, Simon' is one of the best teen romances I've seen in a long time. It is relevant, well-paced, and ticks all the boxes for an entertaining and relatable family friendly coming of age film. I have no doubt that this film is going to be really important to popular culture and I'm so excited to see the impact it has. 'Love, Simon' is the film that the LGBTI community has long deserved. I will happily accompany anyone who wants to watch it when it comes out in March as I'm already dying to watch it again. I literally had goosebumps, I went through all motions of the feels! Thank you to my galpal Francoise for accompanying me and thank you to Penguin Teen Australia and 20th Century Fox for making this wonderful oppourtunity possible, I am SO grateful! Lastly, thank you to Becky Albertali for telling these important stories and for bringing these much needed characters into the world.

'Love, Simon' enters cinemas in March this year. Aussie's can view it from March 29th and those in the US can view it March 16th. Be there or be square, you won't regret it. 


  1. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this! As a gay guy that was Simon Spier 10 years ago I was actually worried about a couple of things in this movie (including if we are going to see any actual physical romance), but thanks to your review I feel more optimistic now. Sending love from Spain to Australia :)

  2. Ugh I cannot wait to see this! Since watching the trailer I've fallen in love with the characters, the story and just love in general really. I'm also a bit sceptical about Katherine Langford, she's brilliant and all but I immediately think "13 Reasons Why" and I don't want that to take away from this story.


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