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‘The Idea Of You’: Empowering Women to Live and Love Freely

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The Beatles, N*Sync, One Direction, BTS. Boy bands have always been such an interesting phenomena. They never fail to amass hoards of fans of all ages, genders, ethnicities, and queer identities. Female fans in particular have proven to be at the forefront, dedicating time, money, and energy to buying their merch and seeing their favorite members on stage. And no doubt, many of us have fantasized about near impossible situations with boy bands and being the lucky one to date our faves. It’s more likely to be something one does in their tween and teen years, and perhaps in their 20’s. But who says these things can’t happen in real life in your later years? The latest Prime Video romantic comedy film, The Idea Of You, explores such a scenario.

The Idea Of You tells the story of Solène Marchand, a 40 year old divorced single mother who ends up going to Coachella with her daughter Izzy. When they end up at a meet-and-greet for popular boy band, August Moon, Solène finds herself connecting with its lead singer, Hayes Campbell. A secret romance begins but eventually turns into a spiral of uncertainty, fears, and massive judgment from the public. The film was directed by Michael Showalter and based on the novel of the same name by Robinne Lee, and stars Anne Hathaway and Nicholas Galitzine in the lead roles.

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(left to right) Nicholas Galitzine as Hayes Campbell and Anne Hathaway as Solène Marchand in ‘THE IDEA OF YOU’. Photo: Amazon MGM Studios

This isn’t the first movie with a fake boy band and it probably won’t be the last. Remember Pixar’s Turning Red with 4*Town and their incredibly catchy pop tunes? August Moon in The Idea of You is no different and that serves as a major aspect that draws specific audiences in. The film really hones in on the spectacle that surrounds these pop stars and the fame that follows them wherever they go. It can seem and feel harmless. Fans are naturally going to be infatuated with members of the band, and we see that with Nicholas Galitzine’s character, Hayes. Fangirls are seen screaming and calling out his name, declaring their love for him. 

But over the course of two hours, the film escalates the levels of fame these heartthrobs have to endure while attempting to live their lives. The Idea Of You forces us to see just how far these parasocial relationships can go and how toxic they can become, how entitled fans can get. If this all feels very familiar, it’s probably because you remember the height of popularity for boy bands like One Direction. And if you’re in the Kpop bubble, then you definitely are aware of the sense of entitlement fans on an international level have toward their beloved band members, or biases.

(left to right) Viktor White as Simon, Jaiden Anthony as Adrian, and Nicholas Galitzine as Hayes Campbell, Dakota Adan as Rory, and Raymond Cham Jr. as Oliver in ‘THE IDEA OF YOU’. Photo: Amazon MGM Studios

And this leads us to the major standout of the film, Anne Hathaway. She’s the actress many millennials and older Gen Z folk love to love, especially from her days as Princess Mia in The Princess Diaries duology. In real life, Hathaway isn’t a stranger to public disdain, particularly as a woman being her most genuine self. So, it makes perfect sense that as Solène, she’s able to organically relay the emotions, facial expressions, and reactions of a woman who is put off by any media focus on her. 

It is a beautiful and magical experience being a woman. And yet somehow, existing as a woman is one of, if not the most difficult thing to do. As women age, as we become wives and mothers, we become less desirable and less entitled to our dreams and happiness. The Idea Of You allows the audience to see this societal belief the eyes of Solène. While she is certainly a devoted mother who is shown to have a strong, healthy, and open relationship with her daughter Izzy (played by Ella Rubin), people are bound to see the opposite.

The film takes this belief, however, and throws it back at society, as if to say that contrary to popular belief, being 40 is not that old. Neither is being in your 30’s or your 20’s. And being a mother doesn’t mean you suddenly stop being desirable. Society’s perspective on age is so skewed when it comes to women that it also impacts the way we value them both physically and in terms of competence as they age.

(left to right) Ella Rubin as Izzy and Anne Hathaway as Solène Marchand in ‘THE IDEA OF YOU’. Photo: Amazon MGM Studios

Not to mention, the hypocritical scrutiny surrounding a 40 year old woman dating a younger man in his 20’s will always outweigh the severe lack of criticism men receive for doing the same. “People hate happy women”, as one character mentions. And boy, does that ring true in the film. Hathaway perfectly captures the essence of a woman who dares to fulfill her own happiness while also battling the fears of society’s hatred toward her living her best life.

If there’s any complaint to be had, it’s that the film needed more August Moon, and more development of Hayes’ character. It’s clear that August Moon has some hit songs that bop and it would be so cool to see a full “fake album” be created for the fun of this movie. But in all seriousness, it did feel that Hayes’ didn’t get to shine as much as Solène, and very little information about who he is is given to us despite hinting that there’s more behind those dreamy eyes and sultry English accent. But on the plus side, this wouldn’t be a movie indulging in the fantasies of women if all the focus went to the man, am I right?

(left to right) Nicholas Galitzine as Hayes Campbell and Anne Hathaway as Solène Marchand in ‘THE IDEA OF YOU’. Photo: Amazon MGM Studios

Overall, The Idea Of You is a slightly spicy yet fun and meaningful romantic comedy film. It succeeds in painting an accurate picture of the shame women are forced to feel when seeking their own path to happiness, no matter how expected or unexpected it may be. Hathaway as Solène and Galitzine as Hayes were perhaps the best casting choices made. Their chemistry is undeniable, leading to plenty of well-earned intimate moments throughout the movie. If you’re feeling that springtime romance, or if you’re needing validation as a woman in her 40’s or older, this is certainly a movie to check. Not only will it satisfy any romcom craving but it is sure to empower you to be confident in yourself and remind you that you’re deserving of all the best things in life.

 Samosa Rating:  

The Idea Of You receives 4 out of 5 Samosas.

The Idea Of You is now streaming on Prime Video. 
Runtime: 1h 55m

If you want even more film discussions, reviews, or just some good old recommendations, be sure to follow @samosasandpopcorn on TikTok!

Pooja Chand
Pooja Chand
Known on other platforms as Samosas and Popcorn, Pooja is a movie enthusiast topped with sprinkles of her love for TV. She can typically be found watching anything from the latest blockbuster movie to a feel good anime, and is always ready to start the discussion on movies and TV so you don't have to.

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