- Acceptable Targets: Dogged nice guys. Martin is a walking Cliché Storm of every entitled escapist male character who genuinely believes that his quirkiness will win over the girl of his affections and it's clear that the movie really wants you to hate him. His comeuppance is both hugely cathartic to anyone who's ever had to deal with these kinds of men in real life and incredibly humbling for any man who's ever acted like him.
- Accidental Aesop: While Simon's frustration over the Double Standard of straight people not needing to "come out" is depicted as a reasonable concern, it's less a sincere comment on straight privilege and more about how Simon needs to learn that everyone has some important part of themselves that they're afraid of being judged for. Inversely, Martin's single passing mention that he didn't realize homophobes like the kind at his school still existed suggests extreme unchecked privilege on his part and proves what little he knows, cares or has even bothered to educate himself about homophobia to recognize that "people like that" absolutely still exist and are the reason people like Simon are still afraid to come out (basically the same attitude towards racism that people who believe in a "post-racial" America have). Even though Martin mentions having a gay brother, to him, homophobia is something that "other" people deal with. Therefore, a more cynical moral could be "Straight people, check your privilege."
- Alternative Character Interpretation
- Did Leah join the others in abandoning Simon really because she felt betrayed by his pushing her towards Nick and refusing to trust her with his secret? Or was it at least partly her lashing out at him due to anxieties over her own secret bisexuality?
- Depending on the motivation behind Martin's blackmail, he could either be a socially inept loser seeking an opportunity to try and get closer to a girl that he liked, or a Manipulative Bastard extorting someone through fear. Was Martin just hoping he could use the threat of leaking the emails to get Simon's assistance or was he using the information from the emails that Simon's biggest worry was coming out in general to force him into helping?
- Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The whole dance number fantasy sequence that Simon has about being openly gay at college. Is it entertaining? Yes. Is it also completely out of place? Yes.
- Broken Base: While the majority of people agree that Abby had a right to be upset with Simon, as he could've told her about Martin's blackmail after he came out to her, thus ending his lies and her being used and forced to endure Martin's presence, fans are more divided on whether Nick's anger is justified. Does he have a right to be mad at his childhood friend for keeping him away from his crush for a few weeks due to blackmail or is he just being petty for abandoning Simon when he needs him? Most people agree, however, that Leah was unnecessarily harsh for abandoning Simon for not liking her back and genuinely believing she liked Nick.
- Ensemble Dark Horse: Ms. Albright, the drama teacher. Only in three scenes and yet had some of the funniest lines in the whole movie, not to mention puts Simon's bullies in their place.
- Fridge Brilliance: Simon mentions in his opening monologue that he and his friends enjoy watching So Bad, It's Good '90s movies. Martin's Grand Romantic Gesture is a direct recreation of the one from 10 Things I Hate About You, a cheesy '90s romantic comedy. This just further emphasizes how much they're each other's foil: Simon and his friends would see that scene, the kind that'd only work in a movie, an laugh at it. Martin sees it and thinks it's a great idea.
- Fandom Rivalry: With Call Me by Your Name, another LGBT-themed Coming-of-Age Story, mostly due to Values Dissonance. Despite that, Keiynan Lonsdale has praised both films for their own merits.
- Glurge: For some viewers, Simon's Coming-Out Story is a little too picturesque, even saccharine, to be a believable depiction of the life of a closeted teen. He lives in a comfortable middle-class suburb and has an incredibly supportive family, plenty of friends, his own car and relatively little angst beyond his insecurity about his sexuality. Older gay viewers have argued that this is a little too idealistic and felt that the story was lacking in any real compelling drama. Of course, as mentioned under Heartwarming in Hindsight, the real-life effects of the story speak for themselves.
- Harsher in Hindsight: Fans of 13 Reasons Why will cringe seeing Hannah Baker end up at yet another party.
- Heartwarming in Hindsight: In-Universe, Simon's story ends up inspiring many of his peers to share stories about their own insecurities, knowing that someone out there will support them. Many of the actual audience members who saw Simon's story (ie, this movie) said that it gave them the confidence to come out, some even saying it helped them bond more with their previously-unsupportive parents. So Simon's positive influence went beyond his own movie!
- He Really Can Act: Those only familiar with Nick Robinson through Jurassic World were far more impressed with his performance in this weighty teen drama.
- Jerkass Woobie: Martin, clearly leaning more on the former than the latter. He's not just The Friend Nobody Likes, he's a loser. The only reason he forces Simon to be his wing man is because he's too socially inept to think of any better way to approach Abby and too immature to understand that his feelings won't be reciprocated (he is still a teenager, after all). And while the audience gets some joy out of seeing him taken down a notch by having his embarrassing stunt at homecoming get remixed and meme'd, in-universe, he's basically getting cyber-bullied. There's some implication that the events of the movie have humbled him, if only slightly.
- LGBT Fanbase: Obviously, considering the subject matter, but especially noteworthy in that several LGBTQ+ people (including cast members and their friends and family) were inspired to come out as a result of this movie.
- Love to Hate: Martin. Logan Miller does an excellent job as someone who's both humorously irritating and infuriatingly unscrupulous, yet clearly enough of an idiot to not come off as a monster.
- Memetic Mutation: Given that Nick Robinson had previously starred in Jurassic World, a lot of jokes have popped up that "Blue" was actually Blue the Velociraptor.
- Misaimed Fandom: "Why is straight the default?" briefly caught on as a gay pride slogan, despite appearing in context as Simon not realizing that he's not the only one who's afraid of sharing a personal secret about themselves.
- Moral Event Horizon: Martin arguably crosses it when threatens to blackmail Simon, but he definitely crosses it when he outs him anyway just to take attention off of his own failures.
- Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Simon more or less states the point of the movie when he yells as Martin that coming out should be his decision and nobody else's, let alone shouldn't be used to exploit someone. Considering how and why he's as angry as he is in that scene, it's the kind of reaction anyone put in that situation would have and helps the message rather than making in flat and awkward.
- Tainted by the Preview: The first trailer didn't do this movie any favors, as it made it look like just another movie about rich white people problems that just happened to have a gay lead in a shallow attempt at progressivism, since it made the Gayngst come off as spectacle. It also ruined several jokes by taking them out of context, such as the scene of Simon trying to convince Nick that him not being interested in Abby had nothing to do with her being black appearing to make him significantly more racist than intendednote , while Simon's parents half-jokingly congratulating themselves for being Good Parents felt more like the movie making a really bad self-aware joke. Thankfully, the film got enough positive word of mouth to assuage those critics.
- Tastes Like Diabetes: While there are critics who felt that Simon's Coming-Out Story was a little too idealistic (see Glurge), even those who like the movie tend to agree that the scenes of Simon driving around with his friends in a car that he, a teenager, owns while they happily drink iced coffee are downright mawkish.
- Unintentionally Unsympathetic
- While Abby is arguably an exception, Nick and Leah play with the Conflict Ball. All three realize after the holiday break that Simon's been lying to and matchmaking them, as well as using Abby as a bartering chip to keep his secret. While they collectively tell him off for it, this is the first time they've spoken to their best friend in weeks, after he was Forced Out of the Closet on the biggest possible stage (which, though he didn't take their calls, further supposes that none of them bothered to come to his house over the holiday to console him, despite ample ability to do so). Simon points out he was being blackmailed into keeping Nick away from Abby, in addition to genuinely (if obliviously) believing Leah would be happy with Nick. Leah's reasons for being upset (getting her hopes up over Simon only to feel rejected when he encouraged her to date Nick) fall entirely under the umbrella of Incompatible Orientation, despite her professing not to care that Simon's gay. At no point do any of the trio express interest or resentment towards Martin's part in the manipulations after Simon identifies him as the blackmailer, and they simply look on as he's being publicly humiliated by school bullies. Abby is justifiably angry at being used, betrayed, and forced to endure Martin's uncomfortable presence — made worse by the fact that Simon's manipulations comprise almost half of her friendship with him by that point — but Simon's oldest friends ultimately seem petty for drawing out his anxiety, cutting him off during what they knew to be his lowest point, and leaving him to fend for himself (it doesn't help that she very briefly tries to make Simon into her Pet Homosexual by egging him into calling the football players at homecoming "fine" in an exaggerated, sassy voice, clearly not the reason Simon trusted her to be the first person he told this incredibly big secret to). Simon's visible uncertainty watching the three after Cabaret indicates that at least Abby and Nick still hadn't forgiven him by that point.
- For that matter, most of the students using that school blog. Nobody in the film questions the fact that it's used almost exclusively for gossip more than anything school-related. Worse, it names the students being gossiped about while bloggers are allowed to remain anonymous. Even before he uses Simon as his fall guy, Martin is essentially cyber-bullied by all of the unflattering remixes and memes of his embarrassing stunt at homecoming, and what he does is only slightly worse than what most of the other bloggers are using it for (and unlike the audience, the students doing it don't want to see him taken down a peg for doing something wrong. They're just picking on an unpopular kid). This may be intentional, however, considering how Simon's Coming-Out Story ends up inspiring more students to start using the blog for good and sharing their own stories of insecurity.
YMMV / Love, Simon