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  • Nate Adams

'The Idea of You' review: Anne Hathaway falls for a boy band heartthrob in sweet romantic-comedy

Courtesy of Prime Video


Anne Hathaway is glowing in “The Idea of You,” a steamy, sexy romantic comedy where the Oscar winning actress lives out every young girl’s fantasy: becoming romantically entangled with a member of the boy band they cherished in their tween years. On paper, the notion of making a commercial film centered around a 24-year-old celebrity and a 40-year-old single mom divorcee doesn’t exactly seem kosher. But filmmaker Michael Showalter (“The Big Sick”) walks a delicate tightrope of growing the relationship in a natural way as opposed to feeding into the troupes of the genre. It helps Hathaway and her co-star, Nicholas Galitzine are a believable couple, forcing audiences to confront their own preconceived notions about the dynamics of a 15+ year age gap. 

Hathaway plays Soléne, an art gallery curator who unexpectedly gets roped into chaperoning her 16-year-old daughter Izzy (Ella Rubin) and her pals at Coachella after her ex-husband ditches because of a business event. There, the inevitable meet-cute happens between Soléne and Harry Styles-stand-in Hayes Campbell (Galitzine) who makes up one fifth of August Moon, which just so happens to be the band Izzy adored when she was 10 and had posters hanging on her wall. Talk about dreamy. The two hit it off instantly, and Hayes enjoys the idea of Soléne looking at him as a normal person rather than this celebrity icon with legions of fans ready to kiss the ground he walks on.

Sparks continue to fly when Hayes visits his crush at work and the relationship deepens as the feelings between the two manifests beyond their serendipitous meeting. Showalter, alongside co-writer Jennifer Westfeld, is a master of sculpting unconventional relationships and continues his remarkable cinematic track record, adapting Robinne Lee’s 2017 novel in a way that doesn’t patronize the audience. In the wrong hands, this would have quickly gone into “creepy” town, but you find yourself rooting for this courtship even as it becomes obvious the hurdles that stand in front of them.

Usually, it’s the man courting the young women (see any James Bond movie ever made), so it’s refreshing to see the roles reversed and makes “The Idea of You” a unique entry into the convoluted space of romantic dramedies. Not to mention the songs August Moon sings throughout the movie, some of which underscore a pivotal montage where Soléne and Hayes are jumping into bed with each other from Rome to Barcelona, are absolute bangers. It’s not so much laughing at boy bands, but embracing their cheesy, almost silly-like nature. The tunes complement an already solid, lived-in world that proves miracles happen every once in a while.

Grade: B 

THE IDEA OF YOU streams on Prime Video Friday, May 3rd


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