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The Idea of You: Changes in Movie Adaptation and the Controversy Surrounding It

The Idea of You: From Bestselling Novel to Movie Adaptation

Haters of the Novel will Love the Movie: The Idea of You

A certain group of readers, who disliked Robinne Lee’s The Idea of You, a popular 2017 novel depicting a mother’s love affair with a singer resembling Harry Styles, will be thrilled with Michael Showalter’s movie adaptation, now available on Prime. While Lee’s book garnered mostly positive reviews, some romance readers who expected a fairytale ending were left dissatisfied. As one reviewer on Goodreads expressed, “I made myself put up with the fact that it was long-winded and unrealistic, but hey it’s a romance and it’s going to have a good ending. NO NO NO it does not. It literally JUST ENDS.”

The Power of a Happy Ending: Changes Made to the Love Story

Michael Showalter, the movie director, made some critical modifications to the original love story, which contributed to the gratifying ending. Lee’s novel portrayed Solène and Hayes as a 39-year-old and 20-year-old couple, respectively. However, Showalter revised the characters’ ages to 24 and 40. It may appear as a small alteration, but this change greatly enhances the story’s conclusion. Solène, a glamorous woman with a successful career in the art world, gains more relatability when she grapples with a sense of uncertainty in her life. Hayes, portraying a struggling musician, brings depth and vulnerability as a victim of show business, unlike his idealized novel counterpart.

Facing the Fear of the Future: Evolving Characters

Both in the novel and the movie, Hayes and Solène fear the future, but the reasons behind their apprehension vary. Showalter presents a more humble and relatable Solène, residing in a modest house and owning a Subaru filled with “mom crap.” Anne Hathaway masterfully portrays Solène’s vulnerability and resilience as a divorced mother. In contrast, Isabelle, Solène’s daughter, evolves from a devoted fan of August Moon into an independent young woman with her own aspirations. These transformations create a more plausible and lighthearted dynamic between Solène and Hayes, ultimately leading to a happy reunion in the movie’s epilogue.

An Unconventional Take on Romance: The Book’s Daring Appeal

The changes to the movie adaptation aim to appease readers who favor more traditional romantic tales. Yet, it is the daring and borderline creepy aspects of The Idea of You that add a layer of fascination to the book. Lee skillfully convinces readers that Solène and Hayes are deeply in love but ultimately cannot be together, transforming the story into a tragedy. The novel disrupts romantic tropes often seen in the genre, and despite its glamorous and luxurious setting, it may not cater to everyone’s fantasy. Showalter’s movie adaptation, with its more conventional approach, caters to a wider audience, trading the book’s intense unpredictability for a more plausible and accessible romantic comedy.

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