Simon Vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda // Love, Simon
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda is a 2015 young adult novel and the debut book by American author Becky Albertalli. The coming-of-age story focuses on the protagonist Simon Spier, a closeted gay teen in high school who is forced to come out after being blackmailed by a classmate who discovers Simon's emails to another closeted classmate.
Simon Spier is a relatable character. He has loads of personality, but we also find him doubting himself and his likable qualities. He's one of those kids who has managed to keep a core group of friends that he loves and trusts, while also remaining friendly and personable with most everyone else in the school. He's emotional and trying to figure out who he wants to be in life, while also trying to remain the same to those people around him who have been by his side. His greatest fear in coming out is that things will change.
Simon's story is a sometimes heartbreaking tale of having the power to come out taken from you, being thrust out of the closet and into the spotlight of his suburban school outside Atlanta.
Becky Albertalli writes a book filled with diversity without forcing it. Her characters have diverse backgrounds without feeling like its just a ploy to create a more inclusive story for the sake of sales and good reviews. However, I would argue that even though her book is great and has many awesome qualities that needed to be published in today's world, it's also a bit problematic at times. This is a story that needs to be told by the LGBT community, it's not just a story about coming out, it's about the inner struggle with coming to terms with your sexuality when the world around you wants you to be "normal". At times, the novel felt like really well written fan fiction, a fan girl/boy's dream to see their favorite characters get together, but that doesn't detract from the overall message and tone of the book and how important it is that it was written and given acclaim.
That being said, the film fixes those issues. Director Greg Berlanti and This is Us writers Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger took the lovable characters from Albertailli's book and framed her story into something that was even better than the novel.
The novel is very introspective, Simon narrates his way through the story and gets very into his own head over what he’s dealing with. This doesn’t always translate well to screen, but the filmmakers were able to make the right adjustments that helped adapt the story while keeping the essence of the narrative alive and amplifying what readers loved about the book in the first place.
This movie probably wouldn't have been made at all ten years ago, and the fact that it is getting a full nationwide release is so important for the LGBT community. We've made so many strides as a society, however this story is a chance to give LGBT youth a positive character to see themselves in, not just a caricature or a stereotype of what others believe them to be.