The Idea of You challenges the conventional coming-of-age story through a tale centered around the notion that there is no age limit to finding love.

Based on the 2017 novel written by Robinne Lee, the film, which is produced by her fellow Dandridge sister (Deliver Us From Eva hive stand up), Gabrielle Union, takes a different turn at the end than what Lee envisioned when she wrote it 10 years ago. 

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Lee spoke to the change – where Soléne does not have her happy ending – but says that is expected when a story is adapted for the big screen.

“It’s America — Hollywood’s going to do what they’re going to do, and they’re going to throw a happy ending on everything,” she said. “I don’t know why. You hope they’ll keep to what you’ve written because it meant something to you, but you also have to think about the box office and viewers and what their audience is going to want to see. Even though there’s obviously a huge overlap between readers and movie viewers, I think when you are gearing something towards a movie audience, it’s a slightly different fanbase, and maybe American viewers are not ready for [a sad ending].”

What happens at the end of ‘The Idea of You’?

As the final credits roll on the Prime Video film, viewers get a glimpse of what a happy ending can look like when Soléne (Anne Hathaway), a 40-year-old newly divorced single mother, decides to chase after her heart’s desire versus worrying about what others have to say about her unlikely romance with 24-year-old pop star of the biggest boy band of all time, Hayes Campbell (Nicholas Galitzine).

Let’s explore how it’s okay to anticipate a happy ending, whether you’re simply watching a love story unfold on screen or applying the sentiment to your own life.

Here's what happens in 'The Idea of You' book vs. movie

In the book, Soléne does what most women do at some point in their lives – she puts importance on the feelings of others versus leaning into what makes her happy. The film, however, completely unearths that her character can fulfill her heart’s desires by choosing herself.

The anticipated ending would’ve left things right where they were when Hayes leaves the watch on the table and departs Soléne’s home after the final breakup.

'The Idea Of You' plot presents ups and downs

Every love story has its ups and downs and The Idea of You brilliantly depicts this. 

Viewers witness Hathaway and Galitzine dive deep into the emotional depths of their characters as they navigate the nuances of love. 

“It’s just the sort of reckless abandon you have to live your life with when you find someone who is your soulmate and your life partner,” Galitzine previously told Blavity ahead of the film’s debut. “There’s something very difficult about this job that we do. It’s wonderful in so many ways, but sometimes cultivating romantic relationships, and family relationships, gets difficult because you can’t always see these people. But when you find someone who really gets you and embraces your oddities, you’ve really got to fight for it and you’ve got to follow that.” 

For Anne Hathaway and Nicholas Galitzine, the altered ending presents a unique challenge and opportunity to explore the emotional depths of their characters. As Solène and Hayes navigate the complexities of love and loss, Hathaway and Galitzine infuse their performances with a sense of vulnerability and authenticity, capturing the raw intensity of their characters’ journey toward redemption and reconciliation.

A new chapter unfolds

Again, while one would think that Soléne and Hayes would’ve left things where they were after the aforementioned breakup, those watching get an extra treat with a timeline jump five years later where the scene opens with Hathaway’s character having a video chat with her daughter, Izzy (Ella Rubin), who has since moved to Chicago to attend college.

It then cuts to Soléne watching Hayes perform from her couch followed by an interview where he announces he’s taking a much-needed break and heading to Los Angeles to see a special someone (wonder who that could be).

Does 'The Idea of You' have a happy ending?

Mostly everyone lives for a happy ending when it comes to film and television, or at least one that provides some sort of closure in the end.

The final scene of The Idea Of You doesn’t include much dialogue, however, the visuals are enough the interpret that these characters walk away with that fairytale ending when Hayes appears at the gallery Soléne owns and she’s left smiling and teary-eyed because her true love has made his way back into her life.

The Idea Of You is now available for streaming on Prime Video.