'The one line from The Idea Of You that changed how I feel about aging.'

If you've watched the new romantic drama The Idea Of Youthere are a couple of key players from the film you'd be able to call out without a moment's hesitation.

The slightly ill-fitting navy blue singlet draped over Nicholas Galitzine's boy band dreamboat, Hayes Campbell, during his first musical performance.

The unattainable, messy yet chic fringe that hangs over the beautiful face of Anne Hathaway's character Solène, the only thing we envy more than her romance with a young man willing to help her clean out a fridge. 

And perhaps the BLT Solène dreamily orders from room service after she and Hayes have sex for the first time in his New York hotel room, an encounter with so much build-up that an orgasm arrived in no less than one minute after she entered his room.

But if I had to add one more standout element from the film to that list, I would say the character of Nancy played by Grace Junot.

You'd be forgiven in this moment for wondering who this Nancy person is, and pondering if she's the August Moon manager who offered to dress Hayes moments after his chance meeting with a sexy single mum in his trailer. Or possibly one of the women who thirstily tracks down Solène at her daughter's summer camp after her scandalous relationship becomes public knowledge.

Listen to the author's brutally honest review of The Idea Of You on The Spill. 

The appearance of Nancy is tucked away in a scene after single mum and art gallery owner Solène has a chance meeting with Hayes, one of the biggest musicians in the world, at Coachella that ends with him serenading her on stage. Solène, who was chaperoning her teen daughter and friends at the event, returns to the home she once shared with her cheating ex-husband where her friends throw her a small party to celebrate her 40th birthday.


During the party, moments after blowing out the candles on her cake, a nondescript older white man playfully asks Solène how it feels to be 40. His question elicits a round of surprised yet supportive groans from the people around the table who, despite being at the woman's 40th birthday celebration, appear horrified that her age is being discussed.

But when it comes to answering his question, Solène thoughtfully pauses before saying it's a good feeling but also confusing for her because she had her daughter Issy so young, in her early 20s, and it made her disconnect from her age. Along with maybe what she wanted from her life.

There's a moment of silence around the table, as if the adults present are all acknowledging this idea of reaching an age where regret begins to quietly creep in and nothing about the course of your life feels like it can be changed.

Then Nancy jumps in and says: "You’re not even a person until you hit 30, just think about it, then you spend the next 10 years after that figuring out the type of person you want to be, that's where you are."

It was a small moment, but one that I remember vividly from watching a preview of this movie in a theatre and realising on the walk home that the goosebumps that had crept across my flesh during that scene might have had little correlation with the four champagnes I had a consumed and more to do with the fact that this line of dialogue tapped into a thought that for so long has lived unspoken in my head.

In this current climate, we are fed images of women in the public eye over the age of 40 and 50 'still living their best life'. Jennifer Lopez gliding down the Met Gala red carpet in a sheer sequined gown or Nicole Kidman draped in high fashion on the cover of a glossy magazine. 


Nicholas Galitzine and Anne Hathaway in The Idea Of You. Image: Prime Video 

Yet in reality, these moments are seen as anomalies and there is still a strong societal current that tells us that our lives have to be locked into place by 30 and all of our greatest achievements, adventures, and possibilities have to be squared away by 40.

Which for some women, might just be the road that they feel most comfortable travelling. 


Yet in the words of Nancy, delivered in her two minutes of screen time in a film where people were straining their eyes ahead on the lookout for the next steamy scene between Hayes and Solène, it's more likely that you only started to become a real person when you hit your third decade. 

Instead of looking at the years that follow as a sign to wind down and step back — it's a time to step forward and be the person you've grown into.

It's a schmaltzy line delivered in a schmaltzy movie, but as a woman who changed cities, jobs, friendship groups, and states just as she turned 30, it also put words around a feeling that I have had for so long. A get-out-of-jail-free card from the nagging feeling that I should have accomplished more by this stage of my life. 

The idea that maybe the idolisation of your twenties will dull compared to the possibility of your forties.

Of course, nothing is ever as simple as it appears in the movies. Yet that is the enduring power of romantic comedies: they can conjure up these little wish-fulfillment moments around love, friendship, age and, let's be real, housing and then give you a tiny dose of hopeful realism wrapped up in sugar.

What The Idea Of You can teach us is that while you might not go on a European sex holiday with a famous pop star, there's a strong possibility that life doesn't end after 40. 

Laura Brodnik is Mamamia's Head of Entertainment and host of The Spill podcast. You can follow her on Instagram here for more entertainment news and recommendations.

The Idea Of You is now streaming on Prime Video. 

Feature Image: Prime Video.