Book vs. Film
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
It has been 8 days since I saw Love, Simon, so today I thought I would do a book vs. film comparison.
A film adaptation can never be exactly the same. Often for timing and pacing reasons not everything can be included – it can be disappointing for book fans to learn that a favourite moment or character has been cut.
Also some elements that work on the page may not necessarily work onscreen. For example, much of Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda is written using the email correspondence between Simon and Blue. It was obviously a challenge for the scriptwriters to work out how to and how much of this to portray onscreen. Love, Simon has Bram (Keiynan Lonsdale), Cal (Miles Heizer) and Lyle (Joey Pollari) each take turns voicing Blue’s emails as Simon tries to work out Blue’s identity. This is a interesting technique to cover the mystery of who Blue is.
I believe that books and film adaptations should be viewed as separate entities. Although having said that, Love, Simon has captured the spirit and heart of the book. Albertalli herself has said she feels that the film is a ‘faithful adaptation’ of her work.
Below are some differences between the book and the film. This is by no means comprehensive (spoilers ahead…)
The first noticeable change is that the film has shorter title. Personally I think the title works for the film.
Simon’s email address
In the book Simon emails from email@example.com. In the film Simon uses the email firstname.lastname@example.org. Blue uses the email email@example.com in both the book and film.
Junior Year / Senior Year
The novel is set during Simon’s junior year, whereas the film is set during his senior year.
In the book Simon wears glasses and later wears contacts for the school musical. In film Simon wears glasses only in the flashback scenes. Robinson does not wear glasses in the present day scenes to minimise technical challenges that occur with lighting when actors wear glasses.
In the novel Simon has two sisters. A younger sister Nora and an older sister Alice, who is a freshman at Wesleyan University. She has a secret boyfriend Theo, whom she introduces to her family after Simon comes out.
In the film Simon only has one sister, Nora. In the book she is a high school freshman and is in a band with Leah, Taylor, and Anna called ‘Emoji’. Nora in the film is younger and has a passion for cooking.
In the book Leah has a crush on Nick and this causes much of the tension between Abby and Leah. In the film Leah’s crush is transferred to Simon. Personally I did not think this change was necessary.
In the novel Simon’s best male friend Nick Eisner is a white Jewish kid who plays soccer and guitar. In the film Nick is portrayed by Jorge Lendeborg Jr., who is Dominican-born. Nick still plays soccer but the guitar is gone.
In the book prior to the Homecoming Game the school has a Spirit Week where the students have various dress up days such as Gender Bender Day and Music Day. This is cut from the script so audiences miss out on seeing Jorge Lendeborg Jr. (Nick) and Keiynan Lonsdale (Bram) dressed as cheerleaders.
In the film we only see the Homecoming Game, but there is added moment where Martin makes a grand gesture and steals the microphone during the national anthem and declares his love for Abby.
In the novel the school is putting on a musical production of Oliver. Martin plays Fagin and Abby plays the Artful Dodger. In the film the school is putting on Cabaret.
In the book Nick and Abby take Simon to a gay bar where Peter a college guy buys him drinks. A scene where Nick takes Simon to a gay bar was shot with Colton Haynes playing the college guy but was cut during editing for pacing reasons. Hopefully this will be included as a deleted scene when the DVD is released.
In the novel Nick’s soccer teammate Garrett throws a Halloween party. Garrett is still in the film but it is Bram who throws the party. In the novel Simon goes to the party dressed as a Dementor from the Harry Pottter series. In the film Simon and Leah goes as John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Simon still keeps his love for Harry Potter as he tells the audience about his crush on Daniel Radcliffe when he was younger.
In the film Simon sees Bram hooking up with a girl at the Halloween Party. This was done to throw the audience off the track of Bram being Blue.
In the book after Simon is outed Blue does not wish to meet him but does leave him a Elliot Smith t-shirt for him at school. Simon stops emailing Blue because he thinks Blue does not like him now that he knows who he is. It turns out Blue had left a note for Simon with his number hidden inside the t-shirt. Simon decides to email Blue and invite him to the carnival. When he goes to put on the t-shirt he finds the note. As the carnival is about to close Simon rides on Tilt-A-Whirl and Bram comes up and sits next to him and reveals that he is Blue.
In the film there is no Elliot Smith t-shirt and Simon has no way of contacting Blue as he has closed his email address. So he creates his own blog post and invites Blue to meet him at the Carnival. There is a brief bait and switch where Martin reveals himself as Blue to try and save Simon the embarrassment of being alone. Bram eventually turns up and reveals himself as Blue.
Added Movie Moments
There a few cool scenes added for the film, such as where Simon imagines his friends having to come out as straight and a fantasy college dance number to Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody.’
New characters in the film
Vice Principal Worth (Tony Hale) an awkward, cringey Vice Principal trying to be hip with his students is added for the film.
The film also introduces Ethan (Clark Moore), the only openly gay student at Simon’s school. This allowed for a great scene where these two boys are sitting next to each other. They are both gay but couldn’t be more different.
Another new character created for the film is Waffle House waiter Lyle (Joey Pollari), who is one of the potential suspects for Blue.
Love, Simon is out in cinemas now. Go see it!
If you have seen the film let me know in the comments what you thought. I would also be interested of any other differences between the book and film that you may have noticed.