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Is The Idea of You based on Harry Styles?

The Prime Video film has drawn some surprising comparisons to Harry Styles

Nicholas Galitzine and Anne Hathaway in a scene from The Idea of You
Nicholas Galitzine and Anne Hathaway star in Prime Video rom-com The Idea of You. (Prime Video)

Anne Hathaway's new romantic comedy The Idea of You is streaming now on Prime Video. But odds are, you've already heard people discussing it long before it was released.

Based on Robinne Lee's acclaimed book of the same name, the movie follows the sweeping romance between 40-year-old single mum Solène (Hathaway) and boy band singer Hayes Campbell (Nicholas Galitzine), and the plotline has seen viewers draw some surprising comparisons to Harry Styles.

Here's what you need to know about the film.

Nicholas Galitzine performing on stage in a scene from The Idea of You
Galitzine plays boy band singer Hayes Campbell. (Prime Video)

The Idea of You is streaming on Prime Video now. It arrived on Amazon's streaming service on Thursday, 2 May.

The film premiered at SXSW on Saturday, 16 March. Directed by Michael Showalter, the rom-com marked his return to the film festival where he previously won the audience award for The Big Sick and Hello My Name is Doris.

Yes, a trailer was released on Wednesday, 6 March that gave viewers their first look at the romance between Solène and Hayes. It also include a preview to the song that was made especially for the film's fictional band August Moon, titled Dance Before We Walk, which is the lead single on the soundtrack.

Watch the trailer for The Idea of You:

Nicholas Galitzine performing on stage in a scene from The Idea of You
Galitzine said Hayes is 'a kin to' Harry Styles but is meant to be his own character. (Prime Video)

The Idea of You brings Lee's book to life on the silver screen, but the story has often been described as Harry Styles fanfiction by readers. This is because of the narrative's similarity to the real-life singer's relationship history, and his past with One Direction.

In The Idea of You, 24-year-old Hayes Campbell is a member of the boy band August Moon whom Solène has a chance encounter with after taking her teenage daughter to see the group in concert. The pair have an instant connection and begin a whirlwind romance that forces them to deal with the challenges of fame and life in the spotlight.

So what does this have to do with Harry Styles, you ask? Well Lee first came up with the idea for her book after coming across videos of One Direction, being drawn to the singer and then learning more about his real life.

Styles has had relationships with older women in the past, for example when he was 17 he dated late presenter Caroline Flack who was 14 years his senior. Between 2021 and 2022 he had a relationship with Olivia Wilde, who is nine years older than him, and he has also had relationships with Taylor Swift and Camille Rowe in the past. Styles is currently dating model Taylor Russell.

While Harry Styles served as inspiration for The Idea of You, the author has said the book is not about him. (Getty)
While Harry Styles served as inspiration for The Idea of You, the author has said the book is not about him. (Getty)

As well as being in a boy band like One Direction, and dating older women, Hayes also has a number of tattoos that look similar to Styles' body art. However, even if the singer served as inspiration for The Idea of You, Lee has denied the story is about him.

Speaking to Vogue in 2020: "This was never supposed to be a book about Harry Styles. It was supposed to be a story about a woman approaching 40 and reclaiming her sexuality and rediscovering herself, just at the point that society traditionally writes women off as desirable and viable and whole."

Read more: All the jaw-dropping Harry Styles links to Taylor Swift's 1989 (Taylor's Version)

Regardless, this hasn't stopped One Direction and Harry Styles fans from running with the idea that the story is about him.

Nicholas Galitzine, who plays Hayes, has spoke to Buzzfeed UK, and said of his character: "We tried to create a character that felt, you know, a in to Harry in a sense that he’s a younger man dating older women. It was important to create someone who felt new and original and not a shoddy impersonation of this person."

Nicholas Galitzine and Anne Hathaway in a scene from The Idea of You
The Idea of You has received lukewarm reviews from film critics. (Prime Video)

Whether it was based on Harry Styles or not, The Idea of You is very much a reality and available to stream right now. Reviews have made their way online and they seem to suggest that this musical rom-com is alright... for the most part.

The Independent called Hathaway's performance a "fierce ode to a woman’s sexual independence," with The Guardian saying she provides the "warm comfort food viewing many still know and love her for."

Entertainment Weekly called it "a hell of a lot of fun" but Total Film wasn't impressed, labelling it the "sort of lightweight streaming fodder that those who watch it will probably have forgotten it inside of five minutes."

Read more reviews below:

The Independent: Anne Hathaway somehow sells this fantastical Harry Styles-inspired romcom (3-min read)

The Guardian: Anne Hathaway lives out fanfic fantasy in solid romance (5-min read)

Entertainment Weekly: Anne Hathaway and Nicholas Galitzine smolder in age-gap romance (7-min read)

Total Film: Anne Hathaway works overtime to give this rom-com even the appearance of substance (1-min read)

The Idea of You is available now on Prime Video.