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Film / Love, Simon

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"It doesn't seem fair that only gay people have to come out. Why is straight the default?"

Love, Simon is a 2018 coming-of-age film directed by Greg Berlanti (showrunner of the Arrowverse) and written by Isaac Aptaker & Elizabeth Berger (This Is Us), based on the young adult novel Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli.

Simon Spier (Nick Robinson) is an average high schooler in his senior year, except for one major secret — he's gay and in the closet.

Despite being surrounded by supportive people, such as his parents (Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel) and best friends (Katherine Langford, Alexandra Shipp, and Jorge Lendeborg Jr.), Simon is hesitant about coming out to them, wishing to finish high school as the person he was when he started it.

However, when another gay kid at Simon's school (named "Blue") anonymously comes out on the internet, Simon begins contacting him as "Jacques", and quickly falls for his faceless friend. As Simon's senior year unfolds, he —and the people around him— start learning major truths about him and one another.

Keiynan Lonsdale and Tony Hale also star.

A spinoff sequel series, Love, Victor, premiered on Hulu two years later. It follows a new character named Victor (Michael Cimino) who's just enrolled in Creekwood High and struggling with both being the new kid in town and his own developing sexuality. Nick Robinson is the show's narrator and occasionally reappears as Simon. Screenwriters Aptaker & Berger serve as showrunners.

Love, Simon contains examples of:

  • Adaptation Deviation: The novel has a subplot where Leah is in love with Nick and is jealous of Abby because of it. Here in the film, Simon suspects this is the case and that Leah's strange behavior and talking about caring for someone so much it would nearly kill her is about Nick. But in reality it's because she's in love with Simon, and she was working up the courage to tell him.
  • Adaptation Name Change: A variation. In the novel, Simon's secret email address is "" (named after lyrics from 'Waltz #2' by Elliot Smith), whereas in the film it's "" (after 'Waterloo Sunset' by the Kinks). The original Elliot Smith lyrics do appear in the background on the chalkboard in Simon's bedroom, however.
  • Adaptation Title Change: Love, Simon is based on Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda.
  • Adapted Out: A few aspects from the book (and its follow-ups) aren't included in the film, such as:
    • Simon's older sister Alice, and the subplot about her new relationship.
    • Martin's gay brother, who's mentioned but not seen.
    • Played with when it comes to Leah's bisexuality, which was unknown to Simon in the book as well, and not known by the audience until the sequel.
  • Adaptational Comic Relief: Simon's reluctant friendship with Martin is complicated in the novel, with Martin being a more likable, if misguided, antagonist. In the movie, he's a total loser who's much less reluctant to blackmail Simon, rewritten to make the audience cringe-laugh every time he's on screen.
  • An Aesop: Telling your friends and family who you really are may not be as painful experience as you may think, but in the end, if and when you do so is your choice and yours alone.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness: Simon in the book is described as wearing glasses and having extremely messy hair. In the movie, he is portrayed by angel-faced actor Nick Robinson who has shiny, straight hair. He also loses his glasses following the flashbacks.
  • Bait-and-Switch: When Simon comes out to his family, his father solemnly leaves. At first, we're lead to believe that he's ashamed of his son, but we later learn that he's actually ashamed of all of the tactless jokes he'd made in the past which inadvertently caused his son to stay in the closet.
  • Be Yourself: Deconstructed, discussed and played with. While the ultimate moral of the story is that everyone has something about themselves that they're afraid to share that isn't limited to their sexuality, it still acknowledges that they're secrets for a reason, even if they're nothing to be ashamed of. Simon is just as afraid of being made a spectacle for his sexuality as he is of being rejected for it while Abby doesn't like talking about her parents' divorce because she's still coping with it herself.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Bram and Simon, at the end. Twice.
  • Blackmail: Martin threatens to out Simon if he doesn't set him up with Abby.
  • Book Ends: The movie starts and ends with Simon picking up his friends on the way to school. The only difference at the end is Bram has joined them.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: At the end of Simon’s musical theatre-esque college fantasy sequence he looks at the camera and says “Maybe not that gay.”
  • …But He Sounds Handsome: Martin leaks Simon and Blue's messages anonymously, saying that everyone should focus on that instead of his stunt with Abby, and that it "was actually kinda sweet, and romantic if you think about it".
  • Camp Gay: Ethan, and he gets his fair share of bullying over it.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Bram, who is dismissed as potential Blue early on.
  • Closet Key: Discussed between Simon and Blue. Simon's were Daniel Radcliffe and Brendon Urie. Blue's was Jon Snow.
  • Coming-Out Story: For Simon and Bram.
  • Composite Character:
    • In the book, Simon has a friend in theatre named Taylor. Though she's also in the film, much of her narrative role is taken by Abby.
    • Simon's sisters in the book are effectively combined into Nora.
  • Cringe Comedy: Martin's attempts to woo Abby end up being uncomfortable for everyone involved.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: A nonverbal example. During rehearsal for the school's disastrous production of Cabaret, Ms. Albright tells the students that she had her doubts when the principal told her to let every student who auditioned be in the show, then nods as if trying to think of something nice to say before simply moving on.
  • Darkest Hour: Martin anonymously leaks Simon and Blue's emails to the school blog after Homecoming, outing Simon to the entire school (and his little sister), and giving Simon an anxiety attack wherein he isolates himself from his friends and lashes out at Nora. This pushes Simon to come out to his parents on Christmas before they hear it elsewhere; while he mends his relationship with Nora, his parents and sister begin in-fighting during the shock, making life uncomfortable at home. Leah, Abby and Nick discover that Simon has been lying to them and meddling with their feelings to get Abby together with Martin, and all three angrily leave Simon to deal with his outing alone. Simon begins facing harassment at school, including a public display of humiliation in the cafeteria. Worst of all, Blue returns from vacation to discover the leak and tells Simon he no longer feels safe emailing him, permanently closing his account.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Leah is the strongest example, but Simon comes close whenever he's interacting with Martin.
    • Ethan is this trope whenever he is confronted by the bullies; he even snarks good-naturedly at Simon's question about whether Ethan was attracted to him, answering that Simon's basic style never impressed him.
    • Simon has his moments. When Martin compliments him for lying his way into a pancake dinner with her, Simon shoots back, without hesitation, "Go to hell, Martin."
  • Demoted to Extra:
    • Taylor Metternich, though never a major character in the novel, has most of her contributions to the plot (going after Simon's bullies and forming a band with Leah and Nora) removed to serve as Ethan's best friend. The only time she's named onscreen is near the end, without a face to go with the name, which means only those who read the book would know who she's supposed to be.
    • Cal Price was a pretty important character in the book, as Simon's crush and the main false lead for Blue, but he only has a few lines of dialogue in the movie and his bisexuality is cut out.
  • Digging Yourself Deeper: A drunken Simon tries to reassure Nick that he's not into Abby, stumbles as he hastens to add that he's into women in general, and then feels the need to amend that it has nothing to do with her being black.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • Martin's embarrassment after Homecoming leads him to leak Simon and Blue's emails on the school blog (while making a point of outing Simon) in an attempt to shift attention away from his own blunder. He later states he had no idea it would be such a big deal despite having threatened to do exactly that for months and knowing that Simon found it genuinely terrifying.
    • As it turns out, grand romantic gestures aren't so much romantic as they are an act of embarrassing peer pressure in real life. Both Abby and Martin find this out the hard way.
  • Dogged Nice Guy: Martin wishes he were this and not for the possessive, annoying creep that he is. See Wrong Genre Savvy.
  • Driving Question: Who is Blue?
  • Dude, Not Funny!
    • After Simon comes out to his parents, his dad jokingly asks which girlfriend turned him, prompting Nora to yell at him.
    • Simon is also not amused by Abby briefly trying to get him to be her Pet Homosexual or Martin, while in a mascot costume, asking Simon if he likes bears.
  • Duet Bonding: Simon and Bram drunkenly sing karaoke together at the latter’s Halloween party.
  • Eating Lunch Alone: Simon does this after he is outed and his friends discover he’s been lying to them.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Martin is definitely an ass who blackmailed Simon, but he reacts with disgust at a group of homophobic bullies.
  • Everytown, America: The only information that's really given about the movie's setting is that it's a suburb of Atlanta with a coffee shop and waffle house.
  • Fantasy Sequence: Simon has one about being out and proud while at college — complete with a dorm decorated with rainbow posters, Whitney Houston playing in the background, and dance number.
  • First Guy After All: Blue turns out to be Bram, the first person Simon suspected.
  • Foil: Humble, reserved homosexual Simon versus aggressively heterosexual Attention Whore Martin.
  • Forced Out of the Closet: Simon's emails to Blue are leaked to the school blog by Martin after Homecoming.
  • Foreshadowing:
    • At one point, Martin makes an Incredibly Lame Pun about what the cross between a black and Jewish person is and says, "Blewish" (Blue-ish). Later on, Simon finds out that Blue is actually Bram who happens to be both black and Jewish.
    • During a scene early in the film, Simon and Bram are sitting in a classroom when Bram looks back and smiles at Simon. On the back of Bram's pencil, there is a blue eraser.
  • Freudian Slip: A non-literal example with Martin's Halloween costume.
  • Funny Background Event: The college banners in Simon’s fantasy sequence say “liberal university”
  • Gay Guy Seeks Popular Jock: It turns out Simon has (inadvertently) been doing this with Bram.
  • The Ghost: Martin's gay brother is only mentioned in the film.
  • Good Parents: The Spier parents encourage their daughter's culinary interests and are perfectly accepting of their son's homosexuality.
  • Grand Romantic Gesture: Martin's attempt at one to get Abby to go out with him is a very good example of why this trope doesn't work in real life.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: When Simon gets drunk and Nick asks if he’s into Abby, he goes on a ramble that basically ends with this.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: Simon is clearly not interested in Martin's attempts to apologize for everything he's done and gives him a piece of his mind before he can even try. He's even less amused by Martin's claims that he's Blue and only begrudgingly accepts the last ferris wheel ride he pays for to meet Blue.
  • Heteronormative Crusader: Simon and Ethan are publicly mocked by two straight boys for being gay after Simon's outed. They get chewed out by the teachers for it, and Ms. Albright says they're going to be suspended. Both later have to apologize.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Martin's steadfast belief that he is a Dogged Nice Guy ends up humiliating him in front of his whole school and earning the ire of everyone he wants to be friends with.
  • Homoerotic Dream: Simon had a recurring one about Daniel Radcliffe when he was younger.
  • Humble Pie
    • Martin, once he realizes that everything he put Simon through wasn't worth the harm it did, spends the rest of the movie trying to make it up to him.
    • Simon himself, when Ethan describes how he has to lie to his grandmother about being gay and that his mom doesn't hide how she wishes he was straight.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: A big reason Simon doesn't want to come out yet is his belief that he shouldn't have to when straight people are never expected to. He hates the thought of something so personal to him becoming someone else's spectacle.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: Martin, pathetically so. He tells Simon that he wants Abby to like him for who he is. Both Simon and the audience know that he's just desperate.
  • Incompatible Orientation:
    • Simon crushes on a few guys he believes to be Blue before discovering this. His crush on Lyle—the cute waiter at Waffle House—ends when the latter asks if Abby is single. It's subverted with Bram, whom Simon catches making out with a girl at the Halloween party. It turns out Bram was "drunk and confused" when it happened, and he actually is Blue.
    • Leah's crush on Simon also isn't returned for obvious reasons.
  • Innocently Insensitive: The vice principal is a genuinely friendly character, but is prone to insensitive comments like assuming that Ethan and Simon were actually dating and going out of his way to clarify that Simon's sexual orientation is not what he saw himself in.
  • Jerkass: Martin. His first instinct when seeing another person's emails open on a public computer isn't to log out courteously. Rather, he takes screencaps of them and threatens to out Simon if he doesn't act as his wing-man to get with Abby. He's offended by the notion that his feelings are one-sided and forces Abby into uncomfortable situations for attention, including asking her out in front of a crowd, pressuring her to say yes. Even before then, he gets jealous of Abby being close with anyone else and forces Simon to lie to and manipulate his friends just to keep her available for him. And when it doesn't work and he ends up embarrassing himself, he breaks his half of the deal and outs Simon anyway, then has the gall to try and get Simon to accept his apology. The only thing keeping him from being a Hate Sink is the implication that he's too immature to realize that what he's doing is wrong and that the ends don't justify the means.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Zig-Zagged. Because he anonymously outs Simon, Martin never gets direct comeuppance for it or lying to Abby beyond Simon furiously rejecting his apology and generally washing his hands of him, even as Martin continues to try and make it up to him. However, he did still make enemies with people he wanted to befriend and humiliated himself in an egotistical stunt.
  • Love Dodecahedron: Blue and Simon are falling for each other, while Simon tries to set Leah up with Nick, who has a crush on Abby, who Simon is being Blackmailed into setting up with Martin. Leah is really in love with Simon instead of Nick. Blue is also Nick's soccer teammate Bram, who Simon mistakenly wrote off early in the film.
  • Male Gaze: In the beginning, when Simon watches his muscular neighbor mow his lawn out the window.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Guy: Again, Martin wishes he was this. He outright forces himself into the role when he gets Abby to stand up in the pancake house and announce "I deserve a superhero!" as a supposed act of empowerment (it's really an act of chauvinism: he's telling her that he's her superhero).
  • Meaningful Name: Simon's last name is Spier, which can be interpreted as him being "undercover", as someone in the closet for most of the story. Discussed at one point: Simon means "he who hears" and Spier means "he who watches", to which Simon quips that he's destined to be nosy. However, he proves to be not very observant.
  • Moral Myopia: Despite his pleas for Simon to forgive him because he didn't think there were still people like "that," what he wrote along with the emails was little better. While saying he didn't think it would be such a big deal, Martin knew it mattered enough to Simon to blackmail him over and take the massive attention away from his own mistake. As far as Martin knew, telling everyone that Simon was gay would have been no more embarrassing than if he'd told everyone that Simon still slept with a teddy bear.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Played with. Martin does realize that what he does to Simon is much crueler than he thought it'd be, but only after too much damage has been done to warrant any forgiveness, and he's clearly more interested in having Simon accept his apology than actually prove that he's sorry.
  • No Bisexuals: In the book, Cal is bisexual. Leah, Simon's best friend, is also revealed to be bisexual in the follow-up book in the series, though it isn't mentioned in the first book.
  • No Social Skills: Martin. He's proud of the fact that he's weird, but his quirkiness and dorkiness is only endearing to others exactly once, and overbearing the rest of the time. He also doesn't seem to think Blackmailing one of Abby's friends to get with her or of putting Abby into uncomfortable situations on a public stage as all that unreasonable, and dismisses or ignores hints that his behavior is barely tolerable.
  • Obliviously Evil: As a result of the above, Martin never seems to put together why people dislike him, acting like Simon is his wingman rather than his unwilling accomplice.
  • Pet the Dog: Martin pays for Simon to ride the ferris wheel one last time when his tickets run out. This extra time is what allows Bram to reveal himself.
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: Nick mistakes Simon and Leah's matching John Lennon/Yoko Ono costumes as Fancy Jesus and Samara from The Grudge.
  • Precision F-Strike: After Martin has the gall to even try to apologize after outing Simon, Simon finally has enough and yells at Martin to "stay the fuck away from me!".
  • Race Lift: Nick is Ashkenazi Jewish in the book, but he's also black in the film.
  • Red Herring: An early hint in the film as to who Blue is that he says he likes Game of Thrones and that Simon can find him wearing one. Most Game of Thrones fans (and as seen in the film) know that the shirts more often than not cite a line from the show, usually the motto of a House. Later on, we see Simon going through some of Martin's shirts, all of which have words on them. As it turns out, he isn't Blue.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The drama teacher gives a glorious one to the two homophobic boys who make fun of Simon and Ethan.
    Ms. Albright: Don’t "Hey, Ms. Albright" me! We’re not friends. You’re not gonna braid my hair, or paint my nails. Get your ass off the the table now! You sweaty, hormonal virgins! You know what, you’re about to be suspended for so long, that by the time it’s over you’re gonna be the fat, bald, unhappily married, wildly mediocre nobodies you’re destined to become.
    Spencer: You can’t talk to us like that!
    Ms. Albright: Actually, I can. ‘Cause I just did. And you know why? Because you’re just those two assholes that did that shitty thing in front of the whole school! And guess what? Nobody feels sorry for those assholes. Especially me. Now walk.
  • Rejected Apology: Simon is, understandably, not interested in Martin's attempt to apologize for outing him, which itself is clearly just Martin trying to absolve himself from guilt.
  • Romantic False Lead: Simon believes Blue to be at least three different guys throughout the film: Bram, Lyle, and Cal. It's Bram.
  • Rule of Three: Simon picking up iced coffee at the drive-thru, each done as an overhead shot. The first time, he picks up a tray of four for him and his friends, establishing how tight-knit they are. The second time, he only picks up one for himself, having alienated all of his friends through his forced matchmaking. The third time, after the four of them have made peace, he picks up five for himself, his friends and his new boyfriend.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Ms. Albright the drama teacher, who is not afraid to call out her students for their poor performances.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Martin. In his mind, he's the hero of this movie and everything he does is endearing and quirky, as opposed to downright irritating. Even when he tries to apologize for his action, he clearly just wants Simon to not be mad at him, rather than actually make it up to him.
  • Stepford Smiler: Abby. She’s well-liked by everyone and comes across as happy and confident, but she later admits to Simon that her parent’s divorce and moving to a new school her senior year have been incredibly hard on her.
  • Straight Gay: Discussed, with Simon's lack of "feminine" traits contrasted by Ethan, an out schoolmate who receives the brunt of homophobic jokes from bullies.
  • This Loser Is You: Woe to any heterosexual men in the audience who've ever tried to make friends or attract women the way Martin does (and there are many), for they'll be served a generous helping of Humble Pie.
  • Title Drop: At the end of the film, when Simon officially comes out to the school in an online letter.
  • Token Minority Couple:
    • Abby and Nick, who are both Black, get together near the end. They're two of three Black kids in the main cast.
    • After Simon is outed, it's just assumed by the vice principal that he's with Ethan, the only other gay student there (who's out). This is not true-they don't even have much in common, but he doesn't get their denial.
  • Transparent Closet: Ethan, the only other out gay kid at the start of the film. His friends feign surprise when he comes out, and Simon points out that nothing really changed after he was out.
  • Troubled Production: In-Universe, the school's performance of Cabaret is a nightmare from start to finish.
  • Twofer Token Minority:
    • Ethan is Black and gay.
    • Nick is Black and Jewish.
    • Blue is gay and Jewish. A threefer minority as Bram is also Black.
    • Abby, who's a Black girl, is the only female of color in the main cast.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Martin. In any other teen comedy, he'd be the Dogged Nice Guy who get the girl in the end. He even forces himself into the role of manic pixie dream guy when gets Abby to stand up with him in the pancake house and shout "I deserve a superhero!" much to the confusion and discomfort of everyone else there. The last third of the movie sees him essentially going on a self-imposed redemption arc, trying to earn Simon's forgiveness just by proving how nice he is, only to have it blow up in his face.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Abby, Nick, and Leah collectively give Simon one of these after they discover he’s been lying to all of them to protect himself from getting out. Whether or not this is justified is open to interpretation.
  • Women Are Wiser: Downplayed in that most of the female characters in this movie are still teenagers and, therefore, prone to just as many irrational decisions as the men. That said, Simon's mother and Ms. Albright are the wisest characters in the film overall.
  • You Are Not Alone: A Central Theme of the story. First, Simon and Blue bond over being the only gay people at school still in the closet and take comfort in knowing the other exists. Later, after Simon shares his story with the rest of the school, it gives several other students the courage to come forward and tell stories about their own fears and insecurities, knowing that someone out there is listening to them. Subverted with Ethan, who's stories about how much worse his coming out experience was makes Simon more humble about his own.