How The Idea of You movie changes the book's controversial ending.

WARNING: Spoilers ahead.

What did you get up to this past weekend? 

The only correct answer is: I curled up on the couch and watched Amazon Prime's new rom-com The Idea Of You.

Now that we've established we're all August Moon stans and Solène/Hayes truthers let's gather around and start unpacking every single detail pertaining to the hit film.

Stars of The Idea Of You, Anne Hathaway and Nicholas Galitzine have been popping up everywhere, which gives us a pretty good indication that this romp about a 40-year-old single mum who falls in love with a 24-year-old world famous boy band member, has really struck a chord with the public.

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


And it's not hard to see why. Not only is it a fun watch (a fake Coachella performance, European holiday montages, high fashion) but it also speaks to some themes much deeper than the boy band fan-fiction trope that has been following this film since the project was announced. 

After watching the film you realise what a great job it has done in normalising conversations around age gaps between men and women (particularly when the woman is older), as well as opening up a space where we let females over a certain age have a fun, flirty romance.

When a movie has such an impact that it opens up dialogue in the community about these important topics, you know it has reached the right audience. And much of that success comes down to some pretty great source material from writer Robinne Lee who was the original author of the novel that inspired the film.

How does The Idea Of You movie differ from the book?

If you were a fan of the book long before the movie came out, you may have picked up on some key differences between the page and the screen dramatisation. One major switch up from the novel shows a more optimistic ending with Solène and Hayes relationship.

In the book, author Lee wrote an ending which saw Solène and Hayes end their romance to part ways for good. The reason they breakup is because their very publicised relationship begins to cause issues for her teenage daughter at school and her art gallery business. It's a rather tearful end to their relationship as Hayes ends up moving on after multiple attempts at a reconciliation and Solène is left heartbroken forevermore.


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

However, in the film we get an alternate future, whereby Solène and Hayes seemingly get their happy ending. The storyline largely follows the book up until a point when they pair part ways but Hayes asks his lover to consider revisiting their relationship in five years time once her daughter has become an adult. 


"It's too long. If you get a shot at happiness, you take it. And I will, too, okay?" Solène says in the film on their final night together.

Sure enough, after five years go by, Solène's daughter is away at college and Hayes rocks up at her gallery. They both smile at each other, implying there is a future ahead for them.

When it comes to the public's reaction to the film's diversion from the book, comments have been mixed. Some are happy that the movie has given a happier ending while others wish script writers had stuck to the source material a bit closer.


Now the book author Lee and the film director Michael Showalter have entered the chat.


What does The Idea Of You author think of the movie ending?

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight Lee said she was, "not involved at all in the adaptation," however her husband acted as a producer on the project and informed her of the alternate changes made to the storyline.

Despite not being involved in the script Lee says she doesn't hold any bad blood regarding the new direction of this story.

"The book is a book, and the movie is a movie," she said. 

"You have to step away and let the filmmakers do what they're going to do and not get too concerned with what it is you've created and when it stops because it's a completely different medium. 

"Adaptations are always a tricky thing because books are so much more cerebral, and you're reading the character's thoughts, and it's hard to convey character's thoughts in a film, so there's going to be changes."

The Idea Of You. Image: Amazon Prime.


The director of The Idea Of You also went some ways in explaining why he made the decision to give Solène and Hayes a different future in the film. 

"There’s a very long history in romantic movies of changing the ending so that the two main characters are together at the end," he told TV Insider

"There’s a bit of a pragmatic answer to this, which is that movie audiences just want to see at least that there’s some hope for these two characters at the end of the movie. We don’t have to tell the audience exactly how it ended. We’re not telling the audience exactly where things wound up. But we are at least giving the audience an opportunity to try to fill it in for themselves."

We guess that really is the beauty of adaptations, whether you prefer the written story or the dramatisation on screen, you can always return to whichever sits right with your soul.

If you'd like a good cry, read the book, and if you prefer a happy ending, then rewatch the film. Solène and Hayes' future lies in your hands.

Feature Image: Amazon/Penguin Books.

Love to shop? Take our survey now to go in the running to win a $50 gift voucher.