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The Idea of You

Book adaptations are a frequent occurrence, particularly in the rom-com genre and especially after the BookTok boom of the last few years. Written by Robinne Lee who claims that One Direction inspired her novel, despite not being based on a true story, The Idea of You released in 2017 to high praise.

Starring Anne Hathaway and Nicholas Galitzine and exploring age-gap relationships through its central romance, the film adaptation is a fun, steamy ride. The locations are picturesque and colorful, the performances are fantastic and despite often falling into expected tropes, it’s hard not to fall for its charm.


Solène, a 40-year-old single mom, begins an unexpected romance with 24-year-old Hayes Campbell, the lead singer of August Moon, the hottest boy band on the planet.


The premise of The Idea of You is… out there. Featuring a whirlwind romance between a gallery owner and a boyband sensation, it’s hard to relate to the story or frame it as believable. Though this might steer some away, the flip side of this is that we get to see something play out that many of us have dreamed of. Whether we had posters up of popstar heart-throbs or spent hours of our lives screaming along to corny lyrics, crushing on a famous artist is something we can all relate to… for some of us, it may not just be a thing of the past. What makes The Idea of You so enjoyable and swoon-worthy is how dream-like the scenario is. Not only is this premise something we don’t see often, but it lets us run away with our imaginations and watch our wildest dreams play out in front of us. It’s an excellent idea for a story. It is definitely more ‘rom’ than ‘com’, and doesn’t offer up much in the way of laughs which may disappoint some viewers, but it has everything you could want from a romance. Genuine chemistry, steamy sex scenes and a romance worth rooting for make The Idea of You a blast. Some segments are a little rushed with others playing out longer than necessary, and there are certainly character decisions that seem rash and plot-points under-explored, but the romance provides enough to sink your teeth into.

Another element that helps the wacky premise play out well is the performances. Hathaway and Galitzine give such real, human performances that really ground this story. Hathaway’s Solene is a 40 year-old single Mum, who has given up on the idea of love after her husband cheated on her. Her bond with her teenage daughter is one of the most heart-warming elements of the film, and it’s refreshing to see an independent businesswoman let her hair down and do something for herself - even if that is traveling the world with a popstar. Galitzine’s Hayes Campbell shows from his very first scene that there is more to him than meets the eye. Struggling with being labelled as ‘so 7th grade’ and often craving normalcy, he is a complex individual with a lot of love to give. The pair share unmatched chemistry from their meet-cute to their final scene, and their attraction to each other leaps from the screen. The characters are well developed separately, and getting to know them as individuals is just as engaging as seeing them grow together as a couple. The casting works incredibly well, with both actors managing to be consistently believable.

The Idea of You

What sets The Idea of You apart from your regular meet-cute, strangers to lovers romance is the age gap it chooses to focus its narrative on. Solene is 40, and Hayes is 24. The script cleverly explores how older women are portrayed when dating younger men, both in the media and by their friends and family around them. It dares to ask the question ‘why is it okay for men to date young women, but not okay for women to date young men?, thoroughly committing to exploring this idea and providing much to think about. It also delves into what it’s like to date a famous person, and how the personal lives of celebrities are constantly infiltrated and exposed. As a society, we think we are welcome to every aspect of their lives, and The Idea of You explores the effect this can have through our main characters. A lot of the discourse is very on-the-nose and it doesn’t leave much to interpretation, but for many, its to-the-point method of storytelling will be refreshing.

The Idea of You is also damn good to look at. Every scene is full of colour, with great outfits and gorgeous set-design. Whether we’re in a hotel room or at a concert, inside an art gallery or at the beach, there are plenty of beautiful settings that help to elevate the film. The movie starts at Coachella, with Solene then accompanying Hayes on his European Tour, so there are plenty of glamorous locations and a real sense of adventure that mimics the whirlwind that our leads are experiencing. As our leading man is a performer, there is a real focus here on music, making for a vibrant and upbeat affair. We get plenty of original music from fictional boyband August Moon, that feels very reminiscent of 2000/2010’s pop including One Direction, JLS and The Wanted, and it’s very nostalgic. Attention has been paid to the overall experience, as these elements make for a fun and engaging watch.

The Idea of You can’t help but fall into tropes of the genre, particularly where the romance is concerned. It also has a very rushed third act that doesn’t feel as well developed as the rest of the story, seeing characters change their minds from one scene to the next with little explanation. However, these shortcomings don’t prevent the movie from being an indulgent, fun and nostalgic charmer. Hathaway and Galitzine are fabulous to watch, the music is sweet, the romance is fuzzy and its best asset is the exploration of the age-gap theme. It beautifully delves into unexpected romances, the power of connection and the importance of finding yourself - at any age.


Rating When Evil Lurks

The Idea of You is streaming now on Prime Video


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