Idea of You – Film Review

The romcom renaissance is truly upon us with the release of The Idea of You. Directed by Michael Showalter (Spoiler Alert, The Big Sick) and based on the novel by actress Robinne Lee, The Idea of You stars Anne Hathaway as gallery owner Solène and Nicholas Galitzine as Hayes, a member of the popular boy band August Moon. The film follows their whirlwind love affair after a chance encounter.

When 40-year-old divorcée Solène Marchand took her teenage daughter Izzy to Coachella, the last thing she expected was to meet the young and handsome Hayes Campbell, a singer and member of August Moon, the very band she was bringing her daughter to see. Immediately smitten but cautious due to their sixteen-year age gap, Solène does not immediately give in to Hayes’ advances, but when Izzy heads off to summer camp the opportunity to get closer to Hayes becomes too good to resist.

As the pair explore their attraction to each other, Solène’s world begins to open up. Retreating into herself after her divorce, her relationship with Hayes helps her to rediscover herself and her passion for life. But love is not without its hurdles and Hayes’ stratospheric levels of stardom threatens to get in the way of her newfound happiness at every turn.

As saccharin romance flicks go, The Idea of You does attempt to tackle some deeper themes of age and shame that women rarely get to explore without being framed as some kind of villain. As an older woman, one who is dating a younger celeb no less, Solène undergoes immense scrutiny from the media, from Hayes’ bandmates and friends, from her ex-husband and even from herself. Movies like this, where an older woman is shown as attractive, sensual, and sexually driven, seem to be few and far between. A film where an older woman is pursued successfully by a younger man, and that relationship is shown to be grounded, healthy, and reciprocal feels even rarer.

After banking up several prestige awards, it’s really nice to see Hathaway return to projects where she can just have fun on camera and a role like Solène where she can show audiences that desirability doesn’t end in your 30s feels like a beautiful “fuck you” to a society that places a cap on women’s relevance once they age. Her chemistry with Galitzine is very natural and so the relationship between Hayes and Solène remains believable throughout the film.

Also an accomplished singer in his own right, Galitzine performed many songs for the film’s soundtrack. All doe eyes and angular features, Galitzine is a natural choice to portray an It-Boy like Hayes Campbell and despite being in the early stages of his film career, his eagerness to play such characters shows a real strength and understanding that these roles still have a place in the blockbuster era. With his work on films like Red, White & Royal Blue and British TV series Mary & George, Galitzine has practically become a household name and no doubt starring against a bonafide star like Hathaway will do wonders for his credibility as an actor.

Romantic comedies are en route to the comeback of the century, and with actors like Galitzine and Hathaway on board, it’s safe to say this revival is in very good hands. The Idea of You is chock full of scenes to make audiences giggle from Solène voicing her internal monologues to Hayes seducing her with the corniest half-naked dance captured on film, and this satisfies the most basic needs for lovers of the genre. Though not typically known for his work in romance, Showalter has executed a very solid entry that feels endlessly re-watchable. In fact, I might just watch it again right now…

The Idea of You starring Anne Hathaway and Nicholas Galitzine is streaming now on Amazon Prime.

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