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THE IDEA OF YOU

I Amazon MGM Studios I May 2, 2024 I 115 Mins. I

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90 %

* As of 5/1/24

Starring:  Anne Hathaway, Nicholas Galitzine, Ella Rubin, Annie Mumolo, Reid Scott, Perry Mattfeld, Jordan Aaron Hall, Mathilda Gianopoulos 

Directed By: Michael Showalter

Based on the acclaimed love story of the same name, Amazon Original film Idea of You will be the romance movie of the year – premiering on Prime Video May 2. Idea of You centers on Solène (Anne Hathaway), a 40-year-old single mom who begins an unexpected romance with 24-year-old Hayes Campbell (Nicholas Galitzine), the lead singer of August Moon, the hottest boy band on the planet. When Solène 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 Hayes and there is an instant, undeniable spark. As they begin a whirlwind romance, it isn’t long before Hayes’ 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.

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REVIEW BY: Kurt Morrison

RATING 3 out of 5

On the surface, Amazon MGM Studios new straight to Prime Video movie release The Idea of You could have been another run of the mill washed up rom com based on a hit novel starring a familiar face. It is a formula that LITERALLY dried up what was once a marketable name like Nicholas Sparks.

But what The Idea of You does right is captures lightning in a bottle with its two leads while exploring the ideas of moving past divorce, aging and finding one's identity when returning to the dating pool.

Listen…. I was as caught off guard as you are reading this. The Idea of You is very enjoyable and was a pleasant surprise.

Written and Directed by Michael Showalter, the film centers around newly 40 year old Solène Marchand, a single mom who, at her ex-husband's request, takes their teenage daughter to Coachella. Frustrated at first, but happy to be spending time with her daughter, Solène finds herself wandering the festival grounds and in a surprising turn of events, flirts up a storm with a striking young man. That budding romance is with none other than 24-year-old Hayes Campbell, the lead singer of August Moon, a famous boy band who are headlining Coachella.

At first, this could sound like nothing more than a Fan Fiction-Fan Girl daydream event for any woman who has a crush on a pop star. And yes, it does lean heavily into those storytelling fantasies and romantic tropes. But man oh man, when the sparks fly between Solène and Hayes, it is enough to go nuclear.

Anne Hathaway once again reminds me why she is one of my favourite leading ladies, as she takes what feels like a bare script at times and acts circles around it. Hathaway never feels like she is phoning it in and her performance as Solène feels so human. She is funny at times, then at the drop of a hat, draws us in with her believability as a single mom navigating her wants with popstar Hayes, their age gap and the ridicule that comes swiftly at her once news breaks of their relationship.

Hathaway truly took my breath away throughout the entirety of this and let that be a testament to how wonderful an actress she is, as what could have been career suicide becomes another step forward and a wonderful notch in an acting career that has now last almost 25 years.

 

Nicholas Galitzine continues to build on his rising star, playing the popstar who falls hard for Solène. His boyish good looks help sell the idea that any girl, at any age, could fall hard for the August Moon lead singer. Galitzine does a great job at flirting up a storm right off the bat with Hathaway, but shines when he allows Hayes’ popstar armor to come crashing down when things get hot and heavy between him and Hathaway. It’s impossible to not fall in love with their chemistry and is easily the stand-out IT factor of the film.

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Writer/Director Michael Showalter has truly become a Rom-Com king over the last few years, after The Big Sick and the very underrated Spoiler Alert. The Idea of You once again showcases his ability to seamlessly mesh comedy and drama, heartache and hopefulness, the universal language of yearning for love and easement with the reality of responsibility. It’s put together so poignantly that you can’t help but smile for the entirety of the film. I hope Showalter never loses this keen eye and ear for human storytelling because he is so damn good at it.

And as continuing with that human side of storytelling, the film’s third act definitely takes a more serious tone than the first two, with a very harsh exploration of social media and the reality that we live in when it comes to comment sections. Quite frankly, it made me sad because it is very on the nose with how this kind of situation would actually play out in a real world situation. Instead of being happy for this beautiful, young mother who has found love, we instead see the cruel and unrelenting barrage that Solène deals with.

As I mentioned, comparatively to the first hour of the movie, it loses its steamy sexuality and tones itself down to be a study of Solene and Hayes’ traumas and why they have reared their head in their new relationship. It hits hard and fast, with you kind of whispering to yourself while watching “I hope they stay together….”. You’ll laugh, you’ll probably cry but damn, what a great final act.

The Idea of You doesn’t look to reinvent the wheel. Far from. But its sultry sex appeal followed by its warmth and authenticity make for one hell of a fun and easy watch. I’d love to see more films like this get made, but as the old saying goes “Quality over Quantity”.

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