“The Idea of You”: Charming Performances

I’ve liked Anne Hathaway even as a young actress. In “The Idea of You”, she plays the older woman, a far different role than she’s taken on before and I wanted to see what that looked like. In addition, Nicholas Galitzine has been outstanding in the performances I’ve seen him in. Together, the pair have sparkling chemistry and give charming performances uplifting the standard romance plot. 

“The Idea of You” is a romantic comedy film directed by Michael Showalter based on a screenplay he co-wrote with Jennifer Westfeldt based on the book of the same name by Robinne Lee. In the film, single mother Solène Marchand (Anne Hathaway) is divorced and turning forty. At her ex-husband Daniel’s (Reid Scott) request, she takes her sixteen year old daughter Izzy (Ella Rubin) to Coachella. After going into the wrong trailer by mistake, she strikes up a budding romance with 24 year old Hayes Campbell (Nicholas Galitzine), the lead singer of August Moon, a famous boy band. The pair explore the relationship over the summer but when the news gets out that Hayes and she are dating, the media’s intrusiveness causes issues for Solène and her family. Can the pair weather the storm of media attention to stay together?

One of the more interesting concepts the film explores is how an older woman is treated when she’s dating a younger man. While that idea has been in plenty of films for the reverse, an older man and a younger woman, I haven’t seen this addressed this way before. It also explores how the media sees the woman in a negative light when with a younger man, never the man. While in the media, we explore the unbalanced nature of how an age gap can affect a relationship and the power dynamics, men are typically not treated as badly as women in the same situation and this film goes all in showing what that bias looks like, showing us explicitly how Solène is treated. Calling her cougar is one of the nicer media bites seen once the relationship is in the open.

The film also explores how even when you care about another person, sometimes the relationship doesn’t always go smoothly or as planned. While I don’t want to spoil any of the story, it is interesting seeing Solène struggle with the media attention. And since Hayes is used to being in the spotlight, he doesn’t always grasp how difficult it is in a relationship. I also like for both of them, the characters struggle with trust and so the connection between them feels authentic and real, not forced. The movie does a decent job of using humor to build that authenticity. It is especially refreshing to have Solène not fall head over heels for Hayes immediately. 

The chemistry between Anne Hathaway and Nicholas Galitzine is charming and believable. Nothing feels forced and Anne Hathaway makes being over forty look gorgeous. She is in her prime and her performance reflects this as she turns in a very charming portrayal of a woman finding love again. Nicholas Galitzine is magnetic and he feels solid as a singer in a boy band, struggling with who he is beyond that role. The pair of them are excellent in the film. Ella Rubin as Izzy, Solène’s daughter, also has a great dynamic with Anne and the pair of them are compelling as mother and daughter.

While the performances are charming, what they don’t do is save the film from being the typical rom-com. I love romance, not only watching it but also reading romance and this story doesn’t deviate from most romance plots. Even the issues the pair has, I’ve seen in books addressing age gap and romances with famous people. While the story is well written, it is also not new and while there is a sweet intimacy and sensuality in the movie, the story is still one I’ve seen many times before. 

If you like Anne Hathaway and Nicholas Galitzine, you might like this film, especially if you do love romances. While you won’t get a new story, you will get sparkling chemistry between Anne and Nicholas, a believable romance, some funny moments and an authentic look at how the media treats the romances of those who are famous. I think audiences will appreciate the real dynamics in the story and the charming performances of both Anne Hathaway and Nicholas Galitzine. There are also some lovely moments between Solène and Izzy that help drive the narrative forward that I enjoyed. With easy access on Amazon Prime, this might be a great date night movie. 

Rating: 3 out of 5 watches.

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