Simon Birch

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Simon Birch is a 1998 coming of age film about a twelve year old boy with stunted growth who looks up to God and is confident that he has a plan for him.

Directed by Mark Steven Johnson. Written by Mark Steven Johnson, based on the novel A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving.
Destiny has big plans for little Simon Birch.

Simon Birch[edit]

  • [At Rebecca's tombstone.] Into paradise...may the angels...lead you.
  • [on the bus that plunged into a lake] Stop it! [Everyone looks around] I'm not going to let anything happen to any of you, understand?"

Adult Joe Wenteworth (Narrator)[edit]

  • [Visiting Simon's grave.] I am doomed to remember a boy with a wrecked voice, not because of his voice or because he was the smallest person I ever knew, or even because he was the instrument of my mother's death but because he is the reason I believe in God. What faith I have, I owe it to Simon Birch, a boy I grew up with in Gravestown, Maine. It is Simon who had me a believer.
  • Our Sunday school teacher was an unhappy woman by the name of Miss Leavey. Her name suited her perfectly as she was always leaving class.
  • [At the birth scene of Simon Birch.] Simon Birch was the smallest delivery ever recorded in the history of Gravestown Memorial Hospital.
  • Simon's father owned the Birch Granite Company. Mr. Birch was a big believer in the rock and just about everything in their house was made from granite, including Mr. Birch.
  • When someone you love dies, you don't lose them all at once. You lose them in pieces over time, like how the mail stops coming. What I remember most to this day was my mother's scent and how I hated it when it began to disappear. First from her closets and drawers, then from her dresses that she had sewed herself and finally, from her bedsheets and pillowcases.
  • Time is a monster that cannot be reasoned with. It responds like a snail to our impatience...then it races like a gazelle when you can't catch your breath.
  • Winter left its icy chill behind and soon it was spring, then summer again. Grandmother passed away that June following a stroke. And because Hilde was always so content to just follow her lead...she had a stroke of her own and died in July. We buried them side by side. It's the way they would've wanted it. Ben Goodrich legally adopted me just two days before my thirteenth birthday. Not a day goes by that I don't thank God for bringing him into my life. With Simon's help, I had finally found my real father.


  • Joe Wenteworth: Okay, you grabbed her boobs, and you pulled her into the manger. Big deal. It could've happened to anybody. Well, maybe not anybody.
  • Joe Wenteworth: [At Simon's bed in the hospital] Jesus, Simon, you look like shit.
  • Rebecca Wenteworth: Do your thing, Simon! Show 'em how it's done!
  • Miss Leavey: Help. Please. I'm gonna strangle him. I swear to God I'm gonna strangle that little granite mouse if it's the last thing I do.


Joe Wenteworth: Come on. We're late.
Simon Birch: No, you're late. I'm just riding with you.

Simon Birch: Not so fast. Slow down. I'm a miracle, you know.
Joe Wenteworth: Yeah, yeah.

Simon Birch: I was just thinking.
Joe Wenteworth: Yeah?
Simon Birch: Last year we played in the Squirt League, right?
Joe Wenteworth: Uh-huh.
Simon Birch: And this year we're in the Peewees.
Joe Wenteworth: So?
Simon Birch: Do they want us to play baseball or urinate? [silence] Anyway, I was just thinking.

Simon Birch: Your mother has the best breasts of all the mothers.
Joe Wenteworth: [trying to ignore] Yeah.
Simon Birch: And she smells the best too.
Joe Wenteworh: I know.
Simon Birch: She's so sexy that sometimes I forget she's someone's mother.
Joe Wenteworth: Okay. Okay.
Simon Birch: I was just being honest.
Joe Wenteworth: Well, what if I said the same thing about your mother?
Simon Birch: I'd have you committed.

[Making their way home from the quarry.]
Simon Birch: Your problem is that you have no faith.
Joe Wenteworth: I got faith. I just need proof to back it up.

[Joe and Simon arrive at their grandmother's home for dinner.]
Grandmother Wenteworth: That child is positively unnatural.
Hilde: Most peculiar.
Grandmother Wenteworth: And his voice, like--
Hilde: A mouse.
Grandmother Wenteworth: More than one. Like mice.
Hilde: Strangled mice.
Grandmother Wenteworth: [laughing] Strangled mice. Very good, Hilde.

Rev. Russell: I'd like to take a few minutes to discuss some of the upcoming activities on the church calendar.
Simon Birch: Here we go.
Ben Goodrich: [Quietly] What's wrong, Simon?
Simon Birch: Who knows what God thinks about current events?
Rev. Russell: Does someone have a question?
Ben Goodrich: Uh, no, sir - um, your honor, no,...Father, thank you. No, sir.
Rev. Russell: It's always nice to see new faces in the congregation. I'd like to invite them downstairs to join my wife and children, and myself for coffee and doughnuts downstairs after the service.
Simon Birch: What does coffee and doughnuts have to do with God?
Grandmother Wenteworth: [Quietly] Simon, you better be quiet!
Rev. Russell: Simon, is there something you'd like to share with us?
[Simon stands up on the pew, speaks more loudly]
Simon Birch: I said, "What does coffee and doughnuts have to do with God?"
Rev. Russell: They're merely refreshments so people can socialize and, uh, and discuss the upcoming activities.
Simon Birch: Who ever said the church needs a continental breakfast?
Rev. Russell: -Simon!
Simon Birch: I doubt that God is interested in our church activities.
Rev. Russell: -Simon!
Simon Birch: -If God has made the church bake sale a priority, then I'd say we're all in a lot of trouble.

Rev. Russell: Simon, what do you think you're doing sitting in a corner?
Simon Birch: Thinking about God.
Rev. Russell: In a corner?
Simon Birch: Faith is not in a floor plan.

Miss Leavey: Didn't your mother ever tell you to keep quiet during mass? What am I saying? Of course she didn't. Your parents don't go to church, do they, Simon? That's because they don't belong here, Simon. And neither do you. Speaking out of turn, disrupting the class, saying that God has a special plan for you? What kind of nonsense is that?
Rebecca Wenteworth: [Furiously bursts into the classroom, having heard the whole thing] And what kind of nonsense is this?!
Miss Leavey: Hello, Rebecca...
Rebecca Wenteworth: Come on, Simon.
Miss Leavey: No, wait, I was teaching him a lesson!
[Joe and Simon lean against the door to hear the argument between Rebecca and Leavey on the other side]
Rebecca: What lessons? Humiliation?
Joe Wenteworth: Oh, man! This is so boss!
Simon Birch: This is all my fault.
Joe Wenteworth: Don't take all the credit, she's my mom.
Miss Leavey: ...telling the other children that he's some kind of hero, that he's God's instrument!
Rebecca Wenteworth: And who's to say he isn't?
Joe Wenteworth: Who do you think would win in a fight?
Simon Birch: Tough say. Miss Leavey's meaner, but she's a smoker. Your mom can outlast her.
Miss Leavey: We can't have him talking that way. It frightens the other children.
Rebecca Wenteworth: Oh, I think the only one who's frightened here is you, Miss Leavey.
Miss Leavey: What? Why would I be afraid of little Simon Birch?
Rebecca Wenteworth: Because that child has more faith than you'll ever know.

[Simon and Joe hear a growl of a animal and hid by a wall]
Joe Wenteworth: What is it?
Simon Birch: [Upon seeing a dog] Ah! It's a horse.

Joe Wentworth: C'mon Si, all the girls think your cute.
Simon Birch: They think I'm cute like a baby turtle. Girls don't kiss baby turtles.

Miss Leavey: Okay, is everybody ready for dress rehearsal?
Simon Birch: No.
Miss Leavey: What now, Simon?
Simon Birch: [Points to the turtledove costumes, which look like winged mutant turtles] What are those?
Miss Leavey: They're turtledoves.
Simon Birch: They look like they're from outer space! The audience won't know what they are!
Miss Leavey: They're doves, Simon! The audience knows what a dove is!
Simon Birch: They're giant doves! They're as big as half a donkey. They're actually kind of frightening.

Simon Birch: Does God have a plan for us?
Rev. Russell: I like to think He does.
Simon Birch: -Me too. I think God made me the way I am for a reason.
Rev. Russell: Well, I'm glad that, um, that your faith, uh, helps you deal with your, know, your, your condition.
Simon Birch: That's not what I mean. I think I'm God's instrument - that He's gonna use me to carry out His plan.

Rev. Russell: Congratulations, Simon. You've just made our first full-contact Christmas pageant. Well, do you have anything to say?
Simon Birch: Can I have my baseball cards back?
Rev. Russell: No, you may not! [Sighs, recomposes himself] Oh, Simon. What happened to tonight?
Simon Birch: I don't know. Sex makes people crazy.
Rev. Russell: Well, um... that maybe true. But that is still no answer. Simon, you spend more time downstairs alone in a corner than you do with the other children. You frighten them with your stories of being an instrument of God.
Simon Birch: They're not stories.
Rev. Russell: And, you interrupt my sermons, and you refuse to apologize. I'm out of ideas, Simon. I can't talk to your parents because, well, they don't attend church. And I can't talk to Rebecca, because, well...Simon, I think what I'm trying to say is, well, we all need a break from you. So, once this all simmers down, and Marjorie Albright's father decides to accept your apology, we'll discuss letting you back.
Simon Birch: What about the retreat?
Rev. Russell: Joe will go alone. And it's about time I had a talk with him too. Simon, I'm sorry. But, as the Bible says, "There is severe discipline for him who forsakes the way."
Simon Birch: "To impose a fine on a righteous man is not good; to flog noble men is wrong."
Rev. Russell: Proverbs 17:26, that's very good, Simon. But, perhaps you're familiar with this one as well: "Folly is bound in the heart of a child, but the rod of discipline drives it far from him."
Simon Birch: "Good sense makes a man slow to anger..."
Rev. Russell: Simon...
Simon Birch: "...and it is his glory to overlook an offense."
Rev. Russell: Oh, Simon. What do you want me to do? What do you want me to say?
Simon Birch: I want to know that there's a reason for things. I used to be certain, but now I'm not so sure. I want you to tell me that God has a plan for me, a plan for all of us. Please.
[Finding it difficult to respond with a good answer]
Rev. Russell: Simon...I can't.

Mr. Birch: Simon's sick.
Joe Wenteworth: I know.
Mr. Birch: So was I when I heard what he did last night. The whole town's talkin' about it. What a little screw-up.
Joe Wenteworth: Hey, your son is not a screw-up. He's a hero.
Mr. Birch: What the hell are you talkin' about?
Joe Wenteworth: I said he's a hero. And you don't deserve him. I want you to know that.

[Last Lines]
Adult Joe Wenteworth: [Presses his hand against Simon's tombstone] Into paradise...may the angels lead you.
Simon Wenteworth: Dad. Dad! I'd love to stand around in the graveyard all day, but I got a game. Remember?
Adult Joe Wenteworth: Okay, Simon. I'm coming. You know, I was just thinking about that. Last year, you played in the squirt league, right?
Simon Wenteworth: Yeah.
Adult Joe Wenteworth: This year, it's Pee-Wee.
Simon Wenteworth: So?
Adult Joe Wenteworth: So what do they want you to do? Play soccer, or urinate? [Sees that Simon doesn't get it] Anyway, I was just thinking.


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