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The Idea of You (2024) Review

I love romantic comedies; there’s room in my heart for art house masterpieces and popularly entertaining explorations of human connection, including Michael Showalter’s newest offering. Based on Robinne Lee’s novel of the same name, the film follows 40-year-old single mom Solène after she begins a romance with Hayes, the 24-year-old lead singer in her daughter’s favorite boy band. Every bit as heartwarming as the trailer would have you think, it would’ve been easy to focus on the fairy tale aspects of this story; but Showalter instead grounds viewers in the real-life consequences of being launched into the limelight, providing an excellent backdrop against which this radiant romance almost perfectly unfolds.

            It’s clear Anne Hathaway’s the main attraction of this movie, and there’s a good reason why. Her acting feels so effortless, embodying the character’s excitement and anxiety in small changes of her facial expressions, body language and line delivery. I was interested to see how she’d adapt to this genre after spending so much time in dramas that garnered tons of buzz during award season, and she didn’t disappoint. There’s certainly a gap in talent between her and co-star Nicholas Galitzine, but he also does a decent job of expressing Hayes’ guard slowly being lowered. Love is a messy thing. When it ends, there’s no telling what kind of baggage a person will be left with. Both lead actors do a solid job of portraying people working through past pains, even if the supporting cast is somewhat lackluster. Despite this small deficit, the editing and lighting do a great job of inserting a lot of humanity into the frame.

I usually associate split-screen shots with films from the late 90s or early 2000s, but this editing choice feels far from dated. As viewers’ eyes flicker between images of Solène and Hayes prancing around Europe, a sense of time starts to be built into the narrative, as well as a sense of scale. What we’re seeing form is a love so grand it splits the frame as past, present and future collide into a single spectacular moment; and what is love if not a ceaseless disorientation, a heightening of reality? This comes through beautifully thanks to various details in camera movement, editing which keeps us firmly in Solène’s perspective via close-ups and POV shots, and the lighting. Though it mostly leans on a naturalistic color palette, there’s one heart-wrenching scene towards the end that explodes into almost neon shades of green and violet. We feel every second of this scene in the best way, as if experiencing this roller coaster romance alongside the characters.

            Despite this not being your average rom com, it still feels like a throwback to the heyday of the genre. Big emotions, tenderly crafted visuals and the occasional stylistic flair; what more can audiences hope for? The Idea of You hits Prime Video May 2nd, and you should absolutely watch it. You should also subscribe to the blog’s Patreon by clicking here! It helps pay the various fees that come with running a website and keeps this blog ad-free and independent. There are also some cool benefits for those who choose to support the blog including: suggesting which movies I review, getting personalized movie recommendations, access to free giveaways and more!


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