This post includes a character analysis of Simon Callum, one of the protagonists of “The Gift”.
Directed by Joel Edgerton, the psychological thriller stars Jason Bateman as Simon Callum. Beware of spoilers.
In “The Gift”, Simon Callum and his wife become the target of Gordon “Gordo” Mosley’s unsolicited hospitality. The latter sends them gifts and often shows up at their house uninvited. At first, Gordo seems harmless, but his visits might have an ulterior motive.
Simon warns Gordo to stay away from him and his wife. Then, the couple starts experiencing a series of unfortunate events. The big plot twist of “The Gift” is that Simon is actually the “bad guy”. He bullied Gordo in high school and made up a malicious rumour about him. The lie followed Gordo throughout his teenage years, making his life miserable.
When Robyn found out about Simon’s dark past, she told him to apologize to Gordo. Simon indeed met up with Gordo but refused to apologize. When Simon returns home, he lies to Robyn and tries to manipulate her into thinking that he did nothing wrong.
Then Gordo sends Simon his final gift: a video tape of him on top of Robyn. The recording implies that Gordo sexually assaulted her and that the baby is not Simon’s. The bully demands to know the truth, but Gordo refuses to tell him, which leaves Simon devastated.
Note: For those who are interested, here is another article discussing the meaning behind the ending of “The Gift”.
Simon Callum Character Analysis in “The Gift”
“The Gift” presents Simon Callum as a man with a questionable past. Beneath the facade of a loving husband and successful man lies an individual who is capable of hurting others. Gordo’s was probably one of his first victims, but there are definitely others.
In terms of personality, Simon Callum is a liar and a master manipulator. Not to mention, he is also a bully who finds great joy in fabricating vicious lies and destroying other people’s lives. Although Simon seems to love his wife, Robyn, he can be incredibly mean and cruel to her at times. When it benefits him, Simon will not hesitate to deceive and gaslight Robyn.
What did Simon do in “The Gift”?
Simon did many things in “The Gift”. First, he bullied Gordo in high school. Not only that, but he also physically assaulted Gordo when the latter refused to accept his insincere apology. Second, Simon lied to Robyn and made fun of her past trauma. And third, the man sabotaged his colleague’s promotion, Simon fabricated lies about his “competition” so he could get the position.
Simon Callum’s Character Evolution
Throughout “The Gift”, Simon Callum’s character and his personality undergo significant changes as the story unravels. At the beginning of “The Gift”, it seemed that Simon was just a “poor man” being stalked by an unstable individual. Nonetheless, there is more than meets the eye regarding the seemingly doting husband and affable man.
Simon is actually someone with a dark past. He used to torment Gordon during their high school days. Simon is also the one who came up with the degrading nickname for his victim: “Gordo the Weirdo”. The most disturbing fact about Simon is that he feels absolutely no remorse about his vile actions and that he hasn’t changed at all.
Nevertheless, actions have consequences. Karma finally came and knocked on Simon’s door. Throughout the film, Gordo “harasses” Simon, leading him to become increasingly paranoid and expose his true nature. In the process, Simon loses his wife and his job.
Simon Callum and Relationships
There are two main relationships explored in the film “The Gift”. The first one is Simon’s relationship with the antagonist “Gordo”. And the second one is Simon’s relationship with his wife, Robyn.
The relationship that Simon has with Robyn is far from perfect. They might give the impression of a happy couple, but Simon and Robyn have their own struggles. Ever since the miscarriage, Robyn has become heavily dependent on medication. Although Simon understands her pain, he also often patronizes her behaviour.
When Robyn confronted her husband about his past, Simon did not hesitate to lie to her. Not only that, but he also mocked her for feeling sympathy for what happened to Gordo. His attitude caused great tension in the couple, and eventually their relationship deteriorated after Robyn saw Simon’s true colours.
Gordon “Gordo” Mosley
The relationship between Simon and Gordo is twisted and toxic. Simon used to taunt Gordo during their high school days, and now the latter came back into his life for payback. For many years, Simon got away with his lies, and Gordo was his main victim. However, years later, the tables turn, making Simon the target of Gordo’s revenge.
In the process, Simon becomes increasingly paranoid and fearful. Meanwhile, Gordo seemed to always have the upper hand over his bully. In the end, Gordo managed to teach Simon a valuable lesson: lies can destroy someone’s life.
Is Simon Callum the villain in “The Gift”?
There are two main characters in “The Gift”, Simon and “Gordo”. In the beginning, it seemed that Gordo was just a “bad guy” with a sinister ulterior motive targeting a seemingly innocent couple. It turns out that there is a bigger creep in the story, and that someone would be Simon.
Having said that, Simon Callum is the real villain of “The Gift” and the reason for that is rather simple: intention. Gordo only went after Simon after seeing that he hadn’t changed at all. In a way, Gordo was trying to teach Simon a lesson. Unlike Gordo, Simon’s actions were always driven by malice.
Getting away with lies actually made Simon develop the nasty habit of lying and manipulating others whenever it pleased and benefited him. That reason alone makes him a worse man than Gordo.
Simon Callum from “The Gift” is a very unlikeable character, and there are practically no redeeming qualities about him. He was a terrible human being back then, and nothing seems to have changed during adulthood.
There were many red flags about Simon hinting there was something sinister about his seemingly “nice” persona. As the story unraveled, Simon turned out to be a more problematic individual than Gordo.
Simon’s downfall serves as a strong reminder that the old saying “you reap what you sow” holds true. Even though Simon went through most of his life unpunished for his “crimes”, he eventually had to pay the price of his actions. The hefty bill came, and Simon lost his wife and his successful career.