a romantic comedy in the land of boy bands


Hayes Campbell (Nicholas Galitzine) and Solène Marchand (Anne Hathaway) in “The Idea of ​​Being With You”, by Michael Showalter. PRIME VIDEO


Long-awaited on the Amazon platform, Prime Video, the adaptation of Robinne Lee’s novel, The idea of ​​being with you (St. Martin’s Press, 2017), a fan fiction inspired by the singer Harry Styles, seemed to promise the comeback of a genre that had gone out of fashion: the romantic comedy, lost somewhere between digital pyrotechnics, the #metoo movement and social media court. It’s difficult, in 2024, to tell a love story while hoping to please everyone. Let us add to this that the great fashion for the story ofempowermentwhere a woman emancipates herself far from men, does not really allow Hollywood fiction to end with a kiss or a ring on the finger.

Romanticism: this Hollywood artifact doomed to reinvent itself, or to disappear. This is what, at first glance, constitutes the old-fashioned charm of The idea of ​​being with you : adapted from a bestseller, the film never apologizes for dispensing its tons of sugar to an audience in need… while promising a “woke” overhaul of its romance. Solène Marchand (Anne Hathaway), 40, is a divorced mother and director of an art gallery in Los Angeles.

Following an impediment from her ex-husband, she is forced to drive her 15-year-old daughter to the Coachella festival, where August Moon, a famous boy band for young girls that the teenager no longer even listens to, is to perform. Lost in the middle of the VIP zone, Solène ends up coming face to face with Hayes Campbell (Nicholas Galitzine), 24 years old, the very sexy singer of the group. It’s love at first sight, and the lovers will have to face a mountain of obstacles: the age gap, fame, social networks and torrents of insults.

Decors and bodies without thickness

The ancestral story of Prince Charming has been put through the mill of feminism, since it is no longer the man who gets involved with someone younger than him, but rather a woman. A strong reversal, a priori, for an industry which has not really evolved on the question of the double standard of aging, but which is treated here with fingertips: the film attempts to make the dapper Anne Hathaway, 41 years old, appear for the cougar that she is not – the actress seems not to have aged a day since her role in The devil wears Prada (2006).
Ignoring what people will say, Solène lets herself be intoxicated by her new life and follows her man on tour across Europe: private jet, great restaurants, luxury hotels, love is reduced to a pure tourist area.

Like the decorations, the bodies are in turn without thickness. Sex is filmed through a mixture of shadows and modesty, and no difference can be seen between the bodies of the two actors: both are slender, young, without flaws. It would also be difficult to see any revolution in representations under this thick acidic glaze which makes the film look sometimes like a music video, sometimes like an advertisement for Valentine’s Day.

The idea of ​​being with you quickly abandons the question of ageism to reconnect with its canonical model, the magnificent Love at first sight in Notting Hill (Roger Michell, 1999). But what separates the two films is that one shows a strictly adult world, while The idea of ​​being with youin the wake of the saga of Fifty Shades of grey, pulls the “rom-com” towards infantile regression aimed at a female audience that we imagine is in search of thrills. After Madame Bovary who plays with a whip and handcuffs, here is Bovary in the land of boy bands.

Film by Michael Showalter. With Anne Hathaway, Nicholas Galitzine, Ella Rubin (EU, 2024, 117 min). Available on demand on Prime Video.

Murielle Joudet

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