Thursday, May 23, 2024

“THE IDEA OF YOU”

THE STORYWhen Solène, a 40-year-old single mother, must step in to chaperone her teenage daughter’s trip to the Coachella Music Festival after her ex bails at the last minute, she has a chance encounter with 24-year-old singer Hayes, and there is an instant, undeniable spark. As they begin a whirlwind romance, it isn’t long before Hayes’s superstar status poses unavoidable challenges to their relationship, and Solène soon discovers that life in the glare of his spotlight might be more than she bargained for.

THE CASTAnne Hathaway, Nicholas Galitzine, Ella Rubin, Annie Mumolo, Reid Scott, Perry Mattfeld, Jordan Aaron Hall, Mathilda Gianopoulos, Raymond Cham Jr., Jaiden Anthony, Viktor White & Dakota Adan

THE TEAMMichael Showalter (Director/Writer) & Jennifer Westfeldt (Writer)

THE RUNNING TIME – 116 Minutes


When Robinne Lee’s debut novel “The Idea of You” hit bookstands back in 2017, it was an instant success. A 40-year-old single mother finds love with the hottest boy band singer in the whole world – kind of every woman’s fantasy – what’s not to love? It was only a matter of time before it was adapted into a movie, and thankfully, director/co-writer Michael Showalter, along with co-writer Jennifer Westfeldt, have improved upon the literary piece to deliver a breezy, charming romance led by the always great Anne Hathaway and Hollywood’s latest it-boy Nicholas Galitzine. On top of a sweet romantic affair that brews between their two characters, the film also takes time to dive into worthy topics, such as the cost of fame, older women dating younger men, and the viciousness of online fans. These themes make “The Idea of You” a much more mature film than some may be expecting.

Solène Marchand (Hathaway) is ready to unwind with a solo weekend in the woods. After a few tumultuous years, which include the end of her marriage after her ex Daniel (Reid Scott, fully living up to his douchey persona), cheated on her with a younger woman, she needs a little break. It just so happens that Daniel has bought VIP Coachella meet and greet passes for their daughter Izzy (Ella Rubin) and her friends to see August Moon, a boy band she used to adore. But when those arrangements suddenly fall through, she has to switch gears and head to the desert.

Like every great romance, there’s a meet-cute. Here, Solène finds herself lost in the VIP area and ends up going into a trailer that belongs to none other than 24-year-old Brit Hayes Campbell (Galitzine), the lead singer of August Moon (seemingly modeled after Harry Styles and his former One Direction band). She doesn’t instantly recognize him, but even after she does, she doesn’t make a big deal out of it, which strikes a chord with Hayes (plus Hathaway looks incredibly beautiful, so who wouldn’t fall for her?). Later on, the two openly flirt with each other during the meet and greet, and Hayes even dedicates a song to her on stage (many of the songs in this film are catchy). It’s enough to make any girl swoon, and it certainly makes Solène blush, but she doesn’t think much of it.

Sure enough, Hayes can’t seem to get Solène out of his mind (again, who would blame him), and he later visits her at her art gallery, where there’s surefire chemistry between them. The sexual tension overflows when they share a steamy first kiss, which is, hands down, the moment that’ll make viewers blush the most. It kicks off a sweet and tender love story between them that, while still having its sexy moments, is more focused on showing their humanity. The “Notting Hill” comparisons are bound to happen, but “The Idea of You” shines in plenty of ways.

It really doesn’t get better than Hathaway in this film, who has been living her best life recently and looking incredible every chance she gets. She portrays a powerful, loving, and successful mother and woman in every which way, to the point that her entire life, from her beautiful home to her sleek outfits, are all mood board inspirations. Playing opposite her is no easy feat, but Galitzine stands his own, oozing with charm as a convincing boy band heartthrob. The two are an electric onscreen pairing, and you’ll likely find yourself screaming, “Just kiss already!” long before you reach that pivotal scene. At the same time, both Hathaway and Galitzine are able to feel like real people – his struggles with fame and his personal life, and her feeling in over her head with this whirlwind relationship with a younger man – which helps ground this film. The film also doesn’t shy away from showing their less-than-desirable characteristics. At one point, Hayes shares that he’s scared that people might view him as a joke, which Solène assures him is not the case, and yet she doesn’t tell anyone, not even her daughter, that she’s dating him.

This adaptation could have just been a sweeping, over-the-top, dramatic romance, which it is in part, but it also gets into what it could realistically be like to date every young woman’s dream boyfriend. In this day and age of social media, rabid fans can and do attack anyone a celebrity is dating, and it’s shown here, especially with Solène’s age. Headlines in tabloids all call her a cougar, and his fans are angry that this “geriatric” woman is stealing their man as if he even knows they exist. At one point in the film, Solène’s friend Tracy (Annie Mumolo) says the world doesn’t want her to be happy, which is often what it feels like reading through fans’ comments. The film brings up a great point that if the roles were reserved, no one would bat an eye if an older man was dating a younger woman. Why can’t a woman who is nowhere near past her prime have some fun in a consensual, loving relationship? It’s nice to see this aspect be so unapologetic in the film, and even though Solène struggles with it at times, as well as the prospect of love overall, she comes to value her happiness and worth.

While “The Idea of You” certainly has its cliches, they don’t take away from this delightful film. Certain aspects could have been explored more—the film quickly brushes past how Solène’s relationship impacts her daughter and others in her life—but the ending, which was changed from the book, makes up for it all. It perfectly ties together this sweet, mature story, leaving us optimistically wondering where these two Coachella lovebirds are now.

THE RECAP

THE GOOD - It really doesn't get better than Anne Hathaway in this film, and Nicholas Galitzine oozes charm as a convincing boy band heartthrob. Their chemistry is electric onscreen. Michael Showalter and Jennifer Westfeldt focus on worthy themes in this film, making it a much more mature story than some might anticipate.

THE BAD - It certainly has its cliches, but they don't detract from the film. Certain aspects could have been explored more.

THE OSCAR PROSPECTS - None

THE FINAL SCORE - 7/10

Subscribe to Our Newsletter!

Ema Sasic
Ema Sasic
Journalist for The Desert Sun. Film critic and awards season enthusiast. Bosnian immigrant

Related Articles

Stay Connected

98,860FollowersFollow
98,860FollowersFollow
7,305FansLike
7,305FansLike
4,490FollowersFollow
4,490FollowersFollow

Latest Reviews

<b>THE GOOD - </b>It really doesn't get better than Anne Hathaway in this film, and Nicholas Galitzine oozes charm as a convincing boy band heartthrob. Their chemistry is electric onscreen. Michael Showalter and Jennifer Westfeldt focus on worthy themes in this film, making it a much more mature story than some might anticipate.<br><br> <b>THE BAD - </b>It certainly has its cliches, but they don't detract from the film. Certain aspects could have been explored more.<br><br> <b>THE OSCAR PROSPECTS - </b>None<br><br> <b>THE FINAL SCORE - </b>7/10<br><br>"THE IDEA OF YOU"