The Idea of You review: Nicholas Galitzine proves he’s Hollywood’s ultimate himbo in sweet, steamy film

Nicholas Galitzine and Anne Hathaway in a still from The Idea of You.

Nicholas Galitzine and Anne Hathaway have impressive chemistry in this sweet but contrived new Prime Video adaptation.

The Idea of You isn’t Galitzine’s first time at the Prime Video rodeo, following his scorching role as Prince Henry in last year’s queer romance, Red, White & Royal Blue.

It was a surprising hit for a straight-to-streaming LGBTQ+ release, topping Prime’s own charts and becoming one of the year’s favourite films.

Evidently, the platform has tried to emulate that success with The Idea To You, another saccharine TikTok-famous novel (this time from actress and author Robinne Lee) adaptation about star-crossed lovers in the cruel digital age. A sure-fire win.

And The Idea of You is a win, arguably. First and foremost, it’s a win for Galitzine, who, over the past 12 months, has secured his status as one of Hollywood’s most in-demand heartthrobs.

Since August, he’s “bedded” the son of a president (Red, White & Royal Blue), topped a British monarch (Mary & George), and now, moving away from gay roles, he’s seducing middle-aged divorcée and art gallery owner Solène Marchand, played by Hathaway.

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Speaking to Out about taking on both gay and straight roles, he said: “It’s just about playing characters I respond to, well-written characters. That’s really how I decided to choose my projects.”

“I’ve been so floored in the [past] few years that people have consumed my content, have really supported me and pushed me forward in my career. I feel very lucky that I’ve played roles that resonate with people and mean something to people [and which have been] wonderfully textured, fun characters to play.”

His latest character, Hayes Campbell, the 24-year-old frontman of boyband August Moon – and in no way inspired by One Direction’s Harry Styles – falls for 40-year-old Solène after they bump into each other backstage at Coachella. He’s performing there while Solène’s daughter Izzy (Ella Rubin) needs a festival chaperone.

Thus begins a dangerous love affair hidden from the world – should people find out, their misogynistic brains will surely explode after seeing an older woman being swept away by a successful mid-twenties dreamboat. Solène jets off with Hayes, and their passion erupts in hotel rooms, on beaches and by the pool.

Hayes simmers with himbo energy, whether when sending late-night “need to see u again” texts to Solène, ordering chicken tenders for dinner, or being – in her words – a “f**kboy”. With this role under his belt, plus his turn as idiot football player Jeff in last year’s lesbian comedy romp Bottoms, it feels like a role Galitzine will be spearheading for the foreseeable future. Thankfully, he does it well.

Anne Hathaway and Nicholas Galitzine.
Anne Hathaway and Nicholas Galitzine star as lovers in The Idea of You. (Getty)

As for Hathaway, she’s as charming as ever: her decades-long acting experience takes The Idea Of You from mushy streaming fodder to a plausible, could-have-been cinema seat-filler, à la Anyone But You. She and Galitzine have genuine chemistry, and that too feels like the difference between this being a low-brow cringe and a pretty enjoyable, square-cut romance.

That’s not to say The Idea of You is entirely devoid of cringe: depictions of Hayes’ celebrity are too hammed up to take seriously, and some dialogue around the film’s key messages – why are we so obsessed with age gaps, why are patriarchal expectations of women so grim? – is a bit much. There’s a very intelligent story in there, but it’s not always executed well, and the story’s conclusion is especially frustrating.

But The Idea of You knows what it’s meant to be, and that’s not Romeo & Juliet reimagined. It’s not cinematic genius, but if you enjoy getting lost in non-sensical romantic fan-fiction repurposed for streaming subscribers, this will be two hours very well spent. 

The Idea of You is streaming on Prime Video now.