The Idea of You Review: You Deserve More, Anne Hathaway

When One Direction burst onto the music scene in 2010, it created fan hysteria that few bands achieve. As teen idols during the rise of social media, millions of their female fans would post fictional stories online. They’d write about members of the band falling in love with them and starting a life. The most popular 1D fanfiction was 2014’s After, written by Anna Todd. The story followed a relationship between a sweet everyday girl and British bad boy Hardin, a fictionalized version of Harry Styles. The story eventually went viral and was adapted into a commercially successful film series. Naturally, its success spawned similar stories, with one of them being them being Robinne Lee’s The Idea of You.

When Solène (Anne Hathaway), a divorced art gallery owner passing her 40th birthday, unexpectedly accompanies her daughter, Izzy (Ella Rubin) and her friends to Coachella, she embarks on an expected romance. The beau in question is Hayes (Nicholas Galitzine), a member of popular boy band August Moon that Solène is taking Izzy and her friends to see.

While Lee has denied that her novel was fanfiction based on Harry Styles, it’s hard to see past a five-member British boy band that has been around just long enough that their fans are in high school and college. Since the film’s release, many viewers have pointed out that the blocking and choreography of August Moon’s stage performances mirror One Direction’s concerts. Despite their role, the band remains in the background for most of the film, which allows the focus to stay on Solène and Hayes.

Unsurprisingly, Anne Hathaway keeps The Idea of You afloat with a vulnerable and charming performance that an actress of her calibre can do in her sleep. As a single mom juggling a daughter, job, and a budding romance with someone much younger than her, audiences not only see the mental effect the relationship has on Solène, but feel for someone who is just trying to be happy but seems to be making everybody else mad for pursuing her desires.

While there is a lot to learn about Solène regarding her past and what she wants in her life, she is the only character that is given that development. Every other character plays the part they’re supposed to without much else going for them. Beyond a quick scene where he talks about wanting to be taken seriously as a musician, even Hayes does not have much depth as the love interest.

After a brief moment of bliss, Solène and Haye’s relationship is put in the spotlight when Solène is attacked online for preying on a man 16 years her senior. We not only see the effects on her personal and professional life but, how it hurts her daughter. However, when Izzy finally confronts her mother about how the relationship has affected her, it is brushed over fairly quickly, with Izzy forgiving her mom in mere minutes without getting angry. There seems to have been a lot more to open up, and the moment does not meet its full potential.

The Idea of You does not do much to set itself apart from the hundreds of other romantic comedies out there, but Hathaway’s marvellous lead performance is reason enough to give it a watch when the opportunity presents itself.

The Idea of You is now streaming on Prime Video.