YesterMovies Rewind: Simon Birch


Five years ago this month, Yesterday’s Movies officially began. To celebrate half a decade of movie reviews, I’m rewatching some of the highlights and giving them second-look reviews. I’m closing out this series with the very first movie reviewed here, Simon Birch.

I know I originally chose this one because I’d just read the book it was based on, A Prayer for Owen Meany, and I recall it ended up not having much to do with the book.

I also think I remember Christmas being a major part of the movie, being a major episode somewhere in the middle of a story told over about a year or so. I’m not sure if I said something about it in the original review, but I’m recalling a feeling very similar to The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. oddly. That and the bus scene are all I really remember.

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Simon Birch

Simon Birch cover
Simon Birch, Caravan Pictures 1998. Image courtesy of IMDB.

Before watching the movie:

For my first review, I decided to watch Simon Birch. This movie was indirectly recommended to me by my literature class when we read A Prayer for Owen Meany, which was the basis for the movie. Many classmates had seen the film, and some commented they couldn’t help but read the narrative in Jim Carrey’s voice.

I feel a little like I’m cheating by reviewing this movie, because I’ve read the book and have a general idea of how it goes. But I also know the movie was rejected by John Irving as an adaptation, which is why it has none of the character names, and I know the end is superficially changed in some manner, so I don’t think it’s any worse than a movie I’ve seen a bunch of trailers for, or heard people talk about. It’s certainly less familiar to me than some I’ve been so interested in that I read the entire plot online. As an adaptation of a book I’ve read, I’ll appraise it as such.

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