Anne Hathaway Reframes The Romantic Comedy Genre In The Idea Of You

By Charlene Badasie | Published

Romantic comedies have often followed the same formula, focusing on a young couple in their late 20s at most. However, Anne Hathaway reframes the genre in The Idea of You, starring as the almost 40-year-old love interest of a 24-year-old pop star, played by Nicholas Galitzine. The movie, which is available to stream on Prime Video, plays out like a fantasy but makes a much larger point about the value of women, challenging stereotypes about age and relationships.

An Unexpected Coachella Adventure

The story follows Solène (Anne Hathaway), who, despite running a successful art gallery in Los Angeles, carries emotional scars from her ex-husband’s infidelity and their subsequent divorce.

When her ex disappoints their daughter Izzy (Ella Rubin) again, Solène gives up her planned solo hiking trip to babysit the teenager at Coachella. While there, she meets Hayes (Nicholas Galitzine), the lead singer of the popular band August Moon, who happens to be headlining the event.

A Fairy-Tale Romance

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Their immediate connection blossoms into an improbable romance, turning Solène’s life upside down. The appeal of The Idea of You lies in its blend of fairy-tale romance and indulgent wish fulfillment.

While the story, based on the novel of the same name by Robinne Lee, is seen by some as nothing more than fan fiction comparable to the uncomfortable Fifty Shades of Grey, the film (fortunately) does not become overly explicit. Instead, it expertly maintains an awareness of the significance of intimacy in relationships. 

Age Difference And Scrutiny

Though slightly adjusted from the book, the age difference between Solène and Hayes remains a central source of scrutiny, shaping their interactions and public perception. Anne Hathaway’s polished glamour makes it easy to understand why a 24-year-old heartthrob like Hayes would be drawn to a woman in her late 30s.

But more importantly, Solène’s life is equally fascinating, which is a welcome change as women over 30 are usually portrayed with gender-specific ageism.

Anne Hathaway Is Brilliant

Instead, the script shows more thoughtfulness when dealing with Solène and Hayes, making their pairing natural. Anne Hathaway delivers one of her most brilliant performances, infusing the film with warmth and charm, while Galitzine convincingly captures the essence of a pop star.

Directed by Michael Showalter from a screenplay he co-wrote with Jennifer Westfeldt, The Idea of You is a welcome departure from recent romantic comedy mediocrity.

A Message Beyond Romance

More than just a meet-cure in a different setting, The Idea of You is a life lesson in disguise, exploring the female struggle for worth, individuality, and identity beyond motherhood.

Anne Hathaway addressed the concept at the film’s SXSW Film Festival premiere in March. “We talk about coming-of-age stories as being something that happens in [the] earliest part of your life,” she said. “I don’t know about you, but I feel like I keep blooming.”

Escapism At Its Best


While some may argue that Solène and Hayes lack depth, I don’t think the story is supposed to be that serious. At its core, The Idea of You aims to take viewers on an incredible escapist journey of romance that doesn’t necessarily have to last forever.

The film also cements Anne Hathaway as a powerhouse in the genre, as already evidenced in her extensive catalog of work, which includes The Devil Wears PradaBride Wars, and more. The only flaw is that The Idea of You opted for a streaming release over theatrical distribution.