Slight Spoilers for anyone who hasn’t watched the movie, but I think you can still read this. Most of what I mention is known before going into the movies. I just want to warn you.
In the LGBTQ+ world, there isn’t near as many movies as there should be. There are very few mainstream LGBTQ+ Romances which is disappointing to say the least. Luckily, in the past few years, Hollywood has became more brave. Movies like Love, Simon, Carol, Disobedience, Call Me By Your Name, and Boy Erased has been released in the theaters. There has also been several movies like Alex Strangelove released on streaming services.
There are two movies on that list that have many similarities as well as the same amount of differences. Love, Simon and Alex Strangelove were both released in 2018. Though Alex Strangelove was released on Netflix, Love, Simon was released by Fox. They are both about a teenage boy figuring his sexuality while trying to juggle his life as a teenage boy in high school. They both tackle conversations many people still will not dream of tackling. With all their similarities comes their many differences. Today, I am going to discuss their similarities and differences, and I will discuss how that determines which one is my personal favorite. I will list several categories in which they differ or resemble. First up on that list is atmosphere.
With movies like Call Me By Your Name and Moonlight, the atmosphere is much more niche while Love, Simon and Alex Strangelove attempted a mainstream atmosphere. That includes brighter and sharper visuals, lighter tones, comedic elements, and well-known actors. While I believe one of the movies pulled that off, the other movie was one step away from becoming a full-blown mainstream masterpiece. That movie would be Alex Strangelove. While some scenes looks like a guide for mainstream visuals, other scenes look to be directed by a very niche director. It almost seemed as if a different director took over halfway through the filming of the movie. The jokes were also quite risky for a film trying to find a mainstream audience. There were a few jokes that would be considered controversial in the first half of the film. One aspect of mainstream films that Alex Strangelove didn’t seem to be aiming at all is well-known actors. There is not one actor in that film that is well-known in any aspect besides indie or niche films. This may have to do with the limiting budget. Though the budget is not known, it’s safe to assume a Netflix film doesn’t have the budget that a Fox film would have. For example, the budget for Love, Simon was 10 – 17 million dollars. It is also common for movies by big production companies to get more well-known talent than Netflix movies. Another thing that is common with Netflix movies is the indie feeling with most of their movies. Therefore, it is not surprising for Alex Strangelove to fall under the same category. It is also not surprising for Love, Simon to be more mainstream. Fox has dealt with the mainstream audience many times so they better understand what people like to see in their movies. Love, Simon has many jokes that land. It also has the book, Simon VS. The Homo-Sapiens Agenda, by Becky Albertalli to go by. That book also had many jokes that were enjoyed by the mainstream audience. a personal favorite of mine in the movie was when the straight characters came out as straight to their family. The last thing that Love, Simon was able to achieve was a well-known cast. They were able to get Katherine Langford who is known from 13 Reasons Why. The cast also includes well-known actors such as Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel, and Alexandra Shipp.
Alex Strangelove: 0 Love, Simon: 1
This one is much more complicated than the first one. As I am writing this, I am still not sure which movie is the winner. I feel like both plots are unique in their own way while also being pretty basic. I enjoy how in Alex Strangelove, the main character, Alex, didn’t really question his sexuality until later on. Although, I am not the biggest fan of how Alex met his love interest. While Simon met his online and didn’t even know who it was for most of the movie, Alex met his at a party. I think meeting the love interest at a party where everyone is getting high is just so overdone and not original at all. There’s also aspects of Love, Simon‘s plot that seems unoriginal as well so I guess they kind of cancel each other out. I don’t want to say too much about the plot only because I do not want to spoil too much about the movies. I think I will give a point to each films for their plot.
Alex Strangelove: 1 Love, Simon: 2
Alex Strangelove is at a disadvantage with this one due to me having read the book that Love, Simon is based off of. A book is able to flesh out the characters much easier than than a movie can. While I’m trying to separate the book and movie from each other, they are starting to blend together in my brain. Since I have watched the movie recently, I do feel that the characters in Love, Simon are very fleshed out. I do feel that Alex Strangelove does have fleshed out characters though. I do feel like the most fleshed out character isn’t even the main character. It is Elliott who is the love interest in the movie. You get a very good feel of who he is. I feel like I know him more than any character in Love, Simon. With him alone, I feel like Alex Strangelove deserves this point. Therefore, I am going to give the point to Alex Strangelove. I was expecting to give the point to Love, Simon so I am pleasantly surprised.
Alex Strangelove: 2 Love, Simon: 2
This one is very easy. I honestly don’t even remember Alex Strangelove having a soundtrack, but according to my research, it did have one. Love, Simon‘s soundtrack was phenomenal. I listen to most of the soundtrack to this day. Jack Antonoff knocked it out of the park with this one. Point to Love, Simon!
Alex Strangelove: 2 Love, Simon: 3
Like I said with the atmosphere, Alex Strangelove has some jokes that just don’t land. There are some plot points that I don’t enjoy. The script is just meh to me. With Love, Simon, I enjoyed the script for what it was, but there were some unnecessary changes from book to movie. That’s really the only issue I have with it. There are plotpoints I didn’t love, but nothing compared to the “average” script that was Alex Strangelove. Point to Love, Simon!
Alex Strangelove: 2 Love, Simon: 3
The director of Love, Simon did an amazing job at bringing an amazing story to the screen!!! The book was all I talked about for months so needless to say, I was excited and nervous about watching the movie. After ten minutes of watching the movie in my local theater, I realized that the movie was already a success in my eyes. The directing of Alex Strangelove was good as well, but like I said before, it seemed like it was directed by two different people: one person who want a niche film and one who wanted a mainstream film. It doesn’t change the fact that the directing of both types of scenes was very good. It didn’t hit all the marks that Love, Simon did, but I believe that has to do with not only my connection with Love, Simon but also setting where I watched both films. While I had an amazing experience in a movie theater with Love, Simon, I watched Alex Strangelove in my living room. I personally believe the directing is great with both films, but personally like the directing of Love, Simon more. Therefore, one point is given to Love, Simon, and 1/2 of a point is given to Alex Strangelove.
Alex Strangelove: 2.5 Love, Simon: 4
Both films had quite a bit of language. It is safe to say that I wouldn’t be able to watch either films with my niece and nephew. There is a scene in Love, Simon where they say G*d D*mn repetitively in just a minute. I don’t remember any specific scenes in Alex Strangelove, but I do remember a lot of language. There was also quite a bit of drug use in Alex Strangelove. It follows Netflix’s formula of being angsty and risky for no reason. Love, Simon does have a bit of alcohol use with teenagers, but that is expected in teen movies. It happens. I won’t be giving a point to either movie, but just know that little children that like to repeat stuff probably shouldn’t be seeing these movies. Most people I have talked to or seen give opinions online say that Love, Simon is okay for 14 years and up while Alex Strangelove is okay for 18 years and up. I think 18 years is a bit of a stretch, but I do understand that. Everyone has different opinions on if a movie is family friendly or not. I would consider Love, Simon family friendly unless there is anyone under 10 years old in your family.
Alex Strangelove: 2.5 Love, Simon: 4
Verdict: While I enjoy both movies, I find myself going back to Love, Simon more often. I would consider watching Alex Strangelove if you have a chance. It’s a good experience. I don’t imagine that you would watch it 15 times like I have with Love, Simon though. Hope you enjoyed this, and I hope I helped you choose which movie you would rather watch first! Please let me know the next movie battle you would like to see!
Writer: Noah Purser
Bio: I’m a gay teen who just likes to write about the things I loves! I hope you enjoy what I have to say, and feel free to contact me at the social medias I have listed below!!
I’m just a dood tryna figure myself out. I write about shows, movies, the LGBTQ+ community, Pop Culture, and my original fiction work!!