The movie was better: My hot take of the month

Yeah. I said it.

I’m out here committing bookworm sacrilege. Goodreads is about to excommunicate me. My bookstagram account is suspended. I’ve been formally shunned from all Barnes & Noble franchises in a hundred mile radius.

But I must speak my truth. And my truth is this:

Love, Simon was better than Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda.

BOOM. How you feel, WordPress???

I am feeling: controversial. And lovin it.

This actually isn’t that hot of a take, because I’m meh on Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. Cute meh! But meh all the same.

Also, Becky Albertalli and I do NOT get along.

But I liked the movie! The movie was good! At some points it was so cute and/or cringey I had to hide my face with the sleeve of my sweater! What better indication can I give you of its being pretty great.

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Find my full review of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda here.

I did not…how do I say this…“get” the “hype” for Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda.

It was cute. The storyline is amazing. There’s so much diversity. It’s not The Upside of Unrequited (huge bonus). But I still had some problems with it. These problems included:

  • repetitive second half
  • predictable crush reveal
  • complete lack of reality
  • Martin’s redemption
  • characters who are either bleh or Leah (and therefore the worst person in the country)

So it was a firm three stars. Not bad, but not great either. And therefore I didn’t really plan on seeing the movie. But then…… a shining utopian moment in my human existence on this earth……..

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It’s a long boring convoluted story involving plans falling through and Isle of Dogs (an amazing film you should absolutely see) and popcorn with movie theater butter and yes that last one is just because movie theater popcorn is the sh*t but never mind this isn’t the movie theater butter appreciation post. That’s for next week.


Okay, sorry, I take that last one back. I did NOT have a part in making this movie. (Or did I?) (I didn’t.)

Let’s address them one by one. Spoilers will be marked.

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Repetitive second half

In the movie, it’s not! Love, Simon hits the climax and then after that the problems for Simon change entirely. Where in the book, the structure and characters and interactions remain largely the same, the (okay, added) drama in the film changes that and makes it way different.

In other words: less boring.

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Predictable crush reveal

Love, Simon does this thing where every time Simon thinks he’s got Blue all figured out (and guess what HE DOESN’T), that character is the one playing Blue. Exciting! And granted I went the whole movie knowing who Blue was (thanks, book) but it seeeemed a lot more mysterious. Using the person I saw it with as an example, she was ASTOUNDED. MYSTIFIED. FLOORED.

So: predictability, consider yourself banished. Begone! Never return to this place! Or this plotline.

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Complete lack of reality

Okay, so this was still pretty much there.

I mean, come on. Attractive squad of four friends who love each other and get iced coffee every morning without even having a weird who’s-paying-are-we-Venmoing-can-you-get-a-receipt-Nick-I-don’t-think-you-ever-Venmoed-me-for-last-time-should-we-just-do-four-separate-transactions-no-this-is-a-drive-through-we’re-in-a-single-car.

It was a little better because they’re played by real humans and so the words that are coming out of their mouths seem more grounded. But like. Come on.



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Martin’s redemption (a tad spoilery so consider: skipping)

There’s evil in those eyes.

I hated. Hated. Hated. HATED that in the book Martin is redeemed.


I’m screaming again.

Redeeming this character is pretty f*cked up. It was my major complaint with the book. Like, that by and large ruined the whole thing for me.

In the movie, I find the treatment of Martin much better. I feel like he isn’t directly not forgiven – he has a moment of humanization or two – but his redemption is not the focus of the ending. Martin is pushed to the side in the scheme of Simon’s life, and that’s the way it should be.

He’s not outright hated, which would be a bad message, but neither is he forgiven and brought into the circle of love and friendship, which would be worse. So: I’m a happy camper.

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Ahem, ahem. (That’s me clearing my throat to make a huge, world-changing, revolutionary announcement.)


Kinda. Abby and Nick were sorta relegated to the side. But Simon?? Simon’s family??? Blue???? I mean. Damn. Catch me out here caring about people.

And I know a lot of people had problems with the way Leah was treated in the movie. She’s less fleshed out and she’s not established as being bi, which is literally genuinely f*cked up. But in the movie she’s also a more generous friend, a more caring person, and altogether a less hateful/mean/unfair individual.

I liked her a lot. In the book I full on hated the girl!!!


I love these classically good looking goofballs!!!

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Other stuff

  • no girl on girl hate here! In the book, Leah and Abby are pitted against each other. (The only two real non-family female characters. Yay.) In the movie??? Au contraire, mon frère!
  • the ending. Cheesier, yes. Less realistic, maybe. BUT SO SWEET, and it didn’t drag out certain plotlines like the book does.
  • the casting. BOY OH BOY. People pulling out heart-stopping performances! And also they all looked the part. And all looked attractive. Fun. (But someone tell me Nick Robinson doesn’t look practically interchangeable with Ansel Elgort.)

So. It wasn’t a perfect movie. They changed a lot of stuff and some of the stuff they changed was ill-advised AT BEST. But overall, I liked it better.

Let me know when y’all are coming to revoke my bookworm cred. I’ll free up some time in my schedule.

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Have you read Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda? Have you seen Love, Simon? Which did you prefer?

Are there any adaptations of books you thought were better than the book itself?

41 thoughts on “The movie was better: My hot take of the month

  1. hannah @ peanutbutter&books says:

    I love reading your controversial reviews
    I haven’t read the book OR watched the movie but I’m sure I’ll love it!!
    (I can totally relate to you hiding your face in your sleeve during cutesy/cringey parts, sometimes i just physically can’t stand the cuteness)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jessica says:

    I haven’t read the book or seen the movie yet (I know, it’s crazy), but I finally purchased the book and once I catch up with my ARCs, that is next on my list! I can’t wait to read it so I can watch the movie now, after reading this post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Emma says:

    i LOVED the movie and i’m so glad you did too!!! also now i really wish there had been a scene (or at least a little banter about) the whole coffee/venmo thing bc that shit is complicated!!

    i think i felt a bit differently about book martin’s portrayal because i never felt like he was redeemed? the fact that he was seen by most people as a harmless nerd, and even during the blackmailing there were moments when simon didn’t hate him was actually a really good way of showing that homophobia isn’t limited to malicious assholes. there are so many “nice” and supposedly accepting people who don’t see what’s wrong with what they’re doing, or how they’re putting lgbtq+ people in uncomfy/dangerous situations, and it can be really difficult to reconcile that when they’re a part of your friend group.

    but wanting a harsher ending for him is totally valid!! he really does deserve every form of narrative punishment imaginable

    Liked by 1 person

    • emmareadstoomuch says:

      i do like the idea that the book aimed to show homophobia as something that even likable (or at least gentle/innocent/harmless) people can carry, and i think both the book and the movie genuinely accomplish that. which is good and unique, for sure, because it’s not just a stereotypical Big Bad Villain thing in real life, even though it’s often depicted that way in fiction.

      i guess for me it seems in the book that martin is forgiven? maybe not redeemed, so much, but forgiveness almost equals redemption for me here. martin isn’t a stereotypically villainous character, but his actions definitely are. they’re wildly evil!! i wish everyone kicked him in the face but not actually but kinda.

      it’s a really good point/compelling argument!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Emma says:

        it definitely makes sense!! I actually feel similarly about simon’s friends in the movie. like, the fact that abby/nick/leah all shun him after he’s outed felt less resolved in love, simon? bc obviously manipulating your friends is Not Good, but they put the blame completely on him and ditched him when he was being bullied and in a really bad place……and never got called out on that. in the book i remember there being a good scene w/ abby where she’s basically like “i understand why you felt like you had to do that” and i wish that had made it in!

        Liked by 1 person

      • emmareadstoomuch says:

        i totally agree! i must have driven the person i saw this with insane b/c i was sitting there like “bad friend. bad friend. bad friend. bad friend.” they really upped the drama of that confrontation!! that was maybe not the best

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Destiny @ Howling Libraries says:

    YESSSSS to this. Yes. I thought the book was fine (I think I gave it 3.5-ish stars?), but it had some major issues that I disliked. The movie, however, made me laugh and cry basically nonstop? Which the book came nowhere near accomplishing. Nothing got me as hard as Simon’s mom, though – I mean, as a mom myself, like, DAMN. When she said it felt like he had been holding his breath, I was a DISASTER.

    Now I want to go see it again…

    Liked by 1 person

    • emmareadstoomuch says:

      THE HOLDING HIS BREATH LINE OH MY GOD. i started, like, panting in that whole scene – just fully freaking out. i three starred the book so i feel exactly the same!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ellyn says:

    Okay, on the point of Leah not being established as Bi. In the book (and I assume, the movie), Leah isn’t out to Simon or anyone else for that matter so in my mind, that is why it never came up. I mean, in Simon VS, she’s still bi, it just never comes up because Simon doesn’t know, and the movie is still in Simon’s pov. That’s just my two cents…

    I agree abt the girl on girl hate, that was probably my favourite thing about the film – I hated in the book how Abby and Leah wouldn’t get along and the movie just made that whole situation so much better.
    I completely agree with you about Martin’s redemption – I never understood that in the book and I loved the whole f u scene in the movie and how Simon just ripped into him and got understandably mad at him!

    Liked by 1 person

    • emmareadstoomuch says:

      that’s a really great point!! i feel that if Leah on the Offbeat gets a film adaptation maybe they’ll go further into that.

      i looooooved the scene in the movie where simon yells at martin!! that made me feel so much better?? + the lack of leah being pitted against abby over a boy – she got a much better break. ugh now i wanna see the movie again

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Fafa's Book Corner says:

    I actually DNFed the book! Party based on Martin, but mostly the writing style. I felt that Becky was trying too hard to create an overly geeky boy.

    I’m not that surprised the movie did better. I did feel that a lot of Becky’s writing would work better for a movie.

    Great review ☺️

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ashley @ Book Tales says:

    I agree!! The problem I had while reading Simon VS, was the fact that the writing didn’t sit too well with me? IDK it was just weird for me, but I’m currently reading The Upside of Unrequited AND I’M LIKING IT SO MUCH MORE. Maybe I feel that Becky Albertalli’s writing improved?

    But yeah, I ended up giving Simon VS 3.25 stars, and I completely agree with the movie being better. The pacing was great so it didn’t leave me a bit bored at parts where the book did!

    Liked by 1 person

    • emmareadstoomuch says:

      that’s wild, i thought this book was meh but i hated The Upside of Unrequited so much i barely made it through!!

      the pacing on the movie was so good you’re right!!! it was just overall so much more fun/good-feeling/etc

      Liked by 1 person

  8. May @ Forever and Everly says:

    okay HELL YEAH you liked the movie I’m very happy (and surprised) you did

    I feel like the movie ending was really cute but also kinda exploitive??? it was either… Blue meet Simon and thus come out to everyone there, or embarrass Simon in front of them ://

    and I think it went out of control with the whole “manipulating friends” thing in the movie, and the friends’ reactions was understandable but also YIKES considering the fact that Simon had literally just been outed to everyone

    BUT I do think that the book almost made me sympathize with Martin at certain points (ALMOST. and then I hit myself on the head for thinking that) and the movie does a much better job as portraying his behavior as bad. and I really did love Leah so much more in the movie. AND certain movie scenes not in the book made me sob

    (this is such a long comment I’m sorry also you are forgiven for liking the movie better because it is Understandable in this case)

    Liked by 2 people

    • emmareadstoomuch says:

      thank you for your forgiveness of my crimes against books

      i guess it was exploitive but it’s the same thing as in the book?? it’s just that you’re not bombarded with images of simon’s potential shame while you’re reading. people were still aware of what simon was doing in the book weren’t they?

      the friend drama is definitely amped up in the movie, which in one way makes sense but also was just purposefully painful. but seriously the lack of girl on girl drama was so refreshing that that’s what i’m taking away from it more than the classic Teen Drama!! High School Friends Fighting!!

      leah was amazing and jennifer garner was so good the parents were so good in the movie AHHH. i’m so not used to liking things!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • emmareadstoomuch says:

        leah and abby were so cute in the movie!! women supporting women hurray!!!

        jennifer garner is god’s gift to mother characters and no one can tell me otherwise


  9. shai @ cadeunderbooks says:

    I preferred Love, Simon the movie over the book as well! For all the reasons you listed, plus that soundtrack is noice. Actually… I’m someone who loves a lot of movie adaptations, one or two better than the books… YES. And most of them I just don’t want to choose. Both. Both is good. I’m thinking of Howl’s Moving Castle and Stardust and Matilda and The Outsiders especially.

    Hope you’re having a fab day! I love your posts 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • emmareadstoomuch says:

      ahh thank you sm!!! the soundtrack of this is wild good how could i have forgotten that??

      i am a huge roald dahl fan so i don’t prefer the movie matilda to the book but it’s definitely close!! the movie is soooo good. also i found the outsiders book kinda meh but now i’m hopeful on the movie since you liked it more hurray

      Liked by 1 person

      • shai @ cadeunderbooks says:

        Ha so The Outsiders movie is so 80s and rly a sob fest (which is great, boys crying and being hugged and cared about instead of shamed!!) and sometimes awk but I love it so. I’ve been Cade for years online and irl so yeah def recommend. And the cast is AMAZING and huge and wonderful. If you ever watch it, let me know what you think 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • emmareadstoomuch says:

        i vaguely know most of the casting for some reason and it’s def so impressive!!! will attempt to remember to watch in the near future and keep you updated ❤

        Liked by 1 person

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