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'The Idea of You' Movie Review: Touches your heartstrings with few hiccups

The Idea of You is a new rom-com that streams on Prime Video from April 2. The film stars Academy Award winner Anna Hathaway and Nicholas Galitzine in lead roles. The movie is directed by Michael Showalter. Read the full review below.

Rahul Pratyush Updated on: May 01, 2024 12:54 IST
The Idea of You
The Idea of You Movie ReviewPhoto:TMDB
  • Movie Name:The Idea of You
  • Critics Rating: 3 / 5
  • Release Date: May 2, 2024
  • Director: Michael Showalter
  • Genre: Romance, Comedy

“I'm just a girl standing in front of a boy asking him to love her,” remains a memorable line from Notting Hill. However, envision a twist with gender-swapped roles, the inclusion of social media, an age disparity, and the addition of Anne Hathaway, resulting in an airy romantic comedy that tugs at your heartstrings, albeit with a few bumps along the way.

‘The Idea of You’ strums a familiar melody: the forbidden romance between an older woman and a younger man. Based on Robinne Lee's 2017 novel, the film stars Anne Hathaway as Solene Marchand, a divorced art gallery owner thrust into the world of boy bands when she takes her teenage daughter and her friends on a trip to Coachella. There, she unexpectedly encounters the lead singer of the famous boy band 'August Moon,' the charismatic Hayes Campbell, played by Nicholas Galitzine. What begins as a chance encounter blossoms into a tale of love, desire, societal norms, the influence of social media, and more.

One of the film's strengths is its exploration of unconventional love in a very subtle manner. It's not your typical love story: a mature, working woman falling for a 24-year-old singer. Solene, a woman in her forties, faces societal scrutiny for her attraction to Hayes. Showalter adeptly captures the essence of this contemporary love story, wherein two individuals, each coming from troubled relationships, find comfort in each other's company. The film skillfully portrays Hayes's youthful fearlessness alongside Solene's insecurities about her age and body, highlighting her internal struggle with guilt over pursuing love at the age of 40.

Showalter subtly poses questions, what happens when a youthful heartthrob finds love with a woman much older than him? Who determines the boundaries of right and wrong in matters of love? Has the widespread adoption of the internet and the emergence of woke culture truly transformed our fundamental beliefs and values? The film doesn't preach or offer simple solutions but encourages viewers to challenge societal norms regarding female relationships and ageing.

The film also excels in its portrayal of the rabid fandom surrounding the boy band, ‘August Moon’. The camerawork cleverly captures the energy of packed concerts and the frenzy of social media, showcasing the intense connection between the band and their fans. However, it doesn't shy away from the darker side of this devotion. The obsessive behaviour and online harassment Solene faces highlight the dangers of entitlement and the toxic nature of certain fan cultures.

However, "The Idea of You" isn't without its flaws. The plot unfolds in a predictable manner, with familiar beats of secret meetings, paparazzi chases, and the inevitable media frenzy. The exploration of the emotional toll of Solene's decision could have been deeper, particularly regarding the potential impact on her daughter. The film also treads lightly on the potential consequences of their relationship, particularly on Hayes' career and the impact on his young fans. The exploration of the social media storm that erupts feels somewhat underdeveloped.

The soundtrack, featuring original songs by the fictional band August Moon, deserves praise. Siddhartha Khosla’s tunes evoke a sense of nostalgia for the boy band era and perfectly capture the energy of the film's concert scenes. The movie has a great album that will only grow on you.

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Speaking about the performances, Anne Hathaway truly shines in the film, commanding attention with her elegance and beauty. Her portrayal of Solene is enthralling, as she skillfully navigates the complexities of balancing motherhood with a quest for personal fulfillment. Hathaway captures Solene's initial hesitance, the unexpected spark of desire to love, and the internal struggle that emerges as her feelings for Hayes deepen. Through her performance, we witness a woman craving connection while contending with the societal pressures placed upon her as she reaches a certain age. Hathaway impeccably brings the character to life, holding the audience's gaze throughout the film.

Nicholas Galitzine complements Hathaway well. He avoids portraying Hayes as a one-dimensional pop star heartthrob. There's a vulnerability beneath the surface, a yearning for normalcy amidst the whirlwind of fame. The chemistry between Hathaway and Galitzine is undeniable, making their romance the heart of the film. Every time you see them on the screen, you blush along with them. Their stolen glances and whispered conversations are laced with undeniable tension, keeping the audience invested in their unconventional connection.

Director Michael Showalter, known for his acclaimed romantic comedy ‘The Big Sick,’ skillfully navigates the age gap romance with sincerity. He captures the essence of a love affair between two ‘very hot’ individuals from different generations, illustrating how they create their own intimate world, shielded from external judgments. Within this bubble, their passion is ceaseless, and their ability to make each other feel cherished knows no bounds. Showalter delicately also addresses numerous issues without being overtly explicit. Showalter's aim is simply to tell a love story, and he succeeds admirably. He captures the excitement of romance, the depth of emotions, and the intensity of drama with finesse.

‘The Idea of You’ is a charming and heartwarming film, despite its predictable plot. It makes you feel the emotions, the characters are going through. Hathaway and Galitzine deliver compelling performances, breathing life into characters who defy stereotypes. Although it doesn't revolutionise the romance genre, the film's examination of relationships across age and status divides, and the significance of genuine connection make it a worthwhile watch, especially for those seeking a feel-good escape.

If you're looking for a predictable yet charming romantic dramedy with a strong female lead and a touch of social commentary, "The Idea of You" is a delightful way to spend a night in. ‘The Idea of You’ streams from May 2 on Amazon Prime Video.

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