The Idea of You review: "Anne Hathaway works overtime to give this rom-com even the appearance of substance"

The Idea of You (2024)
(Image: © Amazon)

GamesRadar+ Verdict

Anne Hathaway has to work overtime to give this superficial rom-com even the appearance of substance.

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Last year’s May December explored the ramifications of a scandalous age-gap relationship in juicily melodramatic fashion. In The Idea of You, director Michael Showalter (The Big Sick) gives us the rom-com version: a Notting Hill in reverse (Hill Notting?) in which a 40-year-old gallery owner embarks on a clandestine romance with a 24-year-old boy-band heartthrob who has until only recently adorned the walls of her teenage daughter’s bedroom.

“I’m too old for you!” sighs gallery owner Solène (Anne Hathaway) to Harry Styles-alike Hayes (Nicholas Galitzine, Red White & Royal Blue, 2022’s Cinderella) after a day of flogging him art ends with them kissing in her kitchen. Hayes, though, has been smitten ever since she stumbled into his trailer at Coachella looking for a restroom: a rather flimsy meet-cute that sets the tone for everything that follows in this glossy but shallow adaptation of Robinne Lee’s 2017 beach-read bestseller.

With daughter Izzy (Ella Rubin) away at summer camp, Solène is initially thrilled to tag along on tour as Hayes’ plus-one, even if it does mean sharing a spot by the pool with his August Moon bandmates’ far younger partners. Until, that is, the tabloids get wind of their fling and start painting her as a cradle-snatching cougar or ‘Yoko 2.0’. 

“Promise me you’ll revisit this in five years!” pleads Galitzine at one crucial turning point. But such is the in-built disposability of this sort of lightweight streaming fodder that those who watch it will probably have forgotten it inside of five minutes. 

The Idea of You streams on Prime Video from May 2. 

Freelance Writer

Neil Smith is a freelance film critic who has written for several publications, including Total Film. His bylines can be found at the BBC, Film 4 Independent, Uncut Magazine, SFX Magazine, Heat Magazine, Popcorn, and more.