A week ago, I had the pleasure of going with a friend to see a greatly anticipated movie based on a hit novel that shook the YA community a few years ago. I’m sure you can probably guess what this movie was – aside from the title of this review that totally gives it away, right?
Yes, it has to be Love, Simon based on Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. And for a blogger who sadly hasn’t finished the whole book (I know, right??), I still chose to watch it.
And it shook me. Absolutely shook me.
I don’t do movie reviews. There’s no time and place for that in my life. I watch things to just zone out and enjoy for the sake of it. I rarely have many bad things to say about what I watch as the whole purpose of going out and choosing this movie to watch suggests it was of some interest to me in the first place.
Yet, I find myself needing to write my thoughts out here. Even after more than a week since I saw the credits roll, something lingers.
Love, Simon was carefully crafted in who they chose as their protagonists and with great timing as Simon’s story moved along. Nick Robinson as Simon Spier surprisingly was perfect. I wasn’t sure initially as I’ve watched plenty of other movies Nick’s been involved in. But there’s something just right about his played-out inner fears, stoic outer charisma, and narrative voice that easily drew out empathy or sympathy from the audience. The secondary supporting characters were also really well chosen. From the hilarious Spier family – starring some familiar and big names like Josh Duhamel and Jennifer Garner – to the best friend, Leah (whom I cannot unsee as the infamous Hannah Baker in 13 Reasons Why, can you?), I think the movie had already made it to the point of halfway decent by choosing the right cast for the story.
What truly carried this movie for me was the amount of empathy I felt towards Simon. I will admit that I haven’t dived in much into the world of LGBTQ stories – whether in YA or any other genre really – but this felt like a good place to start. I have friends who are same-sex attracted and that is just who they are. Without getting into any arguments of specific beliefs, I know at the end of the day that I love these people in my life very much, and romantic love does not make life easy at all.
While you may know how the story ends for Simon and his anonymous exchanger-of-emails friend, I sat in the theatre for a moment just processing it all. The lights came back on, the few groups who watched it with us started trickling out of their seats, and my friend was sniffling at the happy ending. Love had triumphed after all. This was great! Absolutely heartwarming, right?
Yet, sitting there, eyes unseeing as the credits moved on the screen, it made me contemplative. Maybe it’s just where I am in life right now but how often does life reflect what we read and see on a screen? Sometimes I wish I was a protagonist who could flip to the end of the book and see how it all turned out. Sometimes I wished I could control more clearly what would happen. But just as an author controls what would come next for our favourite protagonists, life is the exact same way. We don’t always get to choose what comes our way. We’re just fooling ourselves with how much we truly control in our own life.
Reflecting on these things, it felt both relieving and sad at the same time. Simon got his happy ending – although he almost could have not, really, as it was ultimately up to Blue to change the course of what happened next for Simon – but do we all?
Love is a fickle thing. Do we choose who we want to love? Or does it choose us?
I think that’s what I connected most with Simon. That inability to control what we feel at times, and the inner torment it can play out on us. And while not all of us can fully empathize with the hardships that the LGBTQ community goes through with regards to love, I think this movie had something in it that reached out and made me empathize anyway. That is a true mark of a good story.