The Idea of You review: Hathaway and Galitzine are electric in this surprisingly enjoyable age-gap rom-com

 (Courtesy of Prime)
(Courtesy of Prime)

In the same way that Daisy Jones & The Six isn’t about Fleetwood Mac, The Idea of You certainly isn’t about One Direction. That’s right, you better get the tattooed multi-talented adonis that is Harry Styles out of your head before sitting down to watch this film – despite the fact that the book it’s based on, by Robinne Lee, is commonly read as a bit of 1D fan fiction/wish fulfilment.

Thankfully, due to the extraordinary acting capabilities of Anne Hathaway (who knows why she chose to take on this leading role) and her electric relationship with Nicholas Galitzine, by the end of this LA-based, jet-setting romance we’ve forgotten all about those pesky Styles similarities.

Solène (Hathaway) and Hayes (Galitzine) meet accidentally before boyband August Moon’s VIP experience backstage at Coachella, during which Solène attempts to escape into a world of fiction by taking a hardback book out of her capacious tote bag.

Little does she know: soon they’ve struck up a steamy love affair and have to navigate global superstardom, an intense age gap (she’s 40, he’s in his early 20s) and a 16-year-old teenage daughter from Solène’s first marriage.

When that daughter, Izzy, eventually learns of her mother’s affair, she’s only concerned that relationship was hidden from her, and with whether or not Hayes is a “kind feminist”. The far more realistic high school bullying comes later.

 (Courtesy of Prime)
(Courtesy of Prime)

Nevertheless, we slowly begin to see what Oscar-winning Hathaway, who has experienced two decades worth of misogyny in the creative arts and the devastating hypocrisy of the media, saw in telling a story that put a single mother’s desire for liberation and happiness at the forefront – if only for a moment.

It’s a classic rom-com filled to the brim with witty one-liners and laugh-out-loud moments which has a very relevant message at its core about relationship double-standards when it comes to age gaps.

By the end of the film, both of our characters have aged five years. Hayes’ bizarre goatee aside, we’re confronted by the fact that he’s a 29-year-old man, and Solène is a 45-year-old woman. Suddenly, the age gap doesn’t feel so severe. But why did they have to wait?

Whatever your opinions on gossip vultures and age-gap parasocial warriors, the cast of this ebullient film delivers a convincing high-voltage relationship that lightly taps the heartstrings.

The boyband framework was a simple narrative device which likely took a very real, world-famous beloved popstar as the inspiration. In reality, Hayes could’ve been any A-lister– after all, the fictional August Moon appear for all of two whole minutes.

The undeniable truth remains, Hathaway is a talent no matter what she’s in, and Nicholas Galitzine is one to watch. Together, they make what should be an unbearable cringe-fest a convincing and rather enjoyable experience.

Streaming on Prime Video from May 2