‘The Idea of You’ is the Best Modern-Day Rom-Com in Recent Memory (Review)

by | May 2, 2024

This delightful, not-so formulaic rom-com starring Anne Hathaway is now streaming on Prime Video. 

“If you get a shot at happiness, you take it.” 

It’s quite difficult for any rom-com to stand out among the crowd these days, especially the ones that even make their way to theaters instead of streaming. And for these films to even work, you need the right leads to carry the film and see their chemistry mesh together on-screen. But more importantly, the one aspect of rom-coms that prevent these films from having an impact or sticking the landing—and it’s overlooked more often than you think—is the story. The story is what drives these rom-coms. It’s why we view these films, to see the sparks fly, the relationships develop, and see where it all ends. Too many rom-coms fail to hit all three of these areas of the story, and even some that do manage to succeed in all three areas still feel formulaic. Thankfully, that is not the case with The Idea of You, a film which manages to successfully hit all the right spots of its romantic story while also becoming such a charming film without being your typical, formulaic rom-com.

The Idea of You tells the story of a 40-year-old single mother, Solene (Anne Hathaway), who gets involved with the lead singer(Nicholas Galitzine) of a popular boy band after an encounter at Coachella. Despite their 16-year age gap, they work together well. However, as their relationship develops, things begin to turn upside down due to the immense popularity and fame of the lead singer.

When you see that director Michael Showalter was behind this film, it’s easy to see why The Idea of You works so well from start to finish. Having directed some of the better films about the inner workings of relationships in recent years, from The Big Sick to The Eyes of Tammy Faye, which landed Jessica Chastain an Academy Award, Michael has a keen sense of getting the best out of couples in these stories. The Idea of You is a smoldering, mature film about a second chance for a 40-year-old woman in pursuit of happiness. Whenever Solene and Nicholas have their next encounter after they first meet at a concert, Solene explains why she is a single mother. It’s a heartfelt conversation, and not the kind of conversation you typically see in rom-coms. But it’s one of the many moments in this film where you think about how it’s difficult not to root for Solene’s character once we understand why she is where she is in her life.

And then you flip sides to the story of Nicholas, the young hotshot singer who is still trying to find his way in life while also becoming mature. There are some heartfelt, honest conversations in this film that vary from happy to somber. And the authenticity of these would not be possible without the the two stars at the center of the film.

To no one’s shock, Anne Hathaway once again provides another outstanding performance as the single mother Solene here. Delivering one of the better performances she has had in recent years, Anne shows a vulnerable side to her character we don’t often seen in films she stars in. But at the same time, she also reels us in throughout the film thanks to her undeniable charm that has been a constant since we first laid eyes on her in The Princess Diaries. It also helps that Anne has a great other half in Nicholas Galitzine, who is  equally good. More than just a cute guy in a boy band, there are dramatic moments where Nicholas reaches down (especially in the third act) that help cement this film as a rom-com that works so well in every aspect.

In a year that has offered fewer options available in theaters (especially romance or comedy films), it’s somewhat baffling that Amazon first released The Idea of You on streaming. This is a film that’s a real winner for fans of rom-coms, and one that delivers such a satisfying end that anyone who views the film can appreciate it.

Regardless, The Idea of You is the perfect date night at home film to watch, and one with more meaning than your typical rom-coms offer these days.

RATING: ★★★★

(out of five stars)