05/18/2024

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‘The Idea of You’ Ending Approaches The Age Gap Problem Wrong

‘The Idea of You’ Ending Approaches The Age Gap Problem Wrong

The post ‘The Idea of You’ Ending Approaches The Age Gap Problem Wrong appeared first on Ready Steady Cut.

The ending of The Idea of You is somewhat predictable as Hayes Campbell spells it out before it arrives. “I’ll see you in five years,” he says. And that’s exactly what happens. After Hayes and Soléne are forced to break up due to the pressure of media attention on their age-gap relationship, they see each other again five years later, with the hope that life has changed enough to give their love for each other a chance.

Of course, there’s the perspective that 45 and 29 might not sound as bad as 40 and 24, even though they’re the same age gap. Based on the loving look Soléne gives to Hayes at the end, I can only assume they end up together. 

The Age Gap Problem is Delivered Wrong

Putting aside the swooniness of the ending, which is fully expected from a typical romance movie, The Idea of You tackles the age-gap problem, and I wasn’t entirely sure what to think about it. The third act was as much about why they could not be together rather than their feelings. 

At one point, near the end, Soléne’s daughter, Izzy, points out that the public is being mean to her mother because she’s the older woman. This struck me as somewhat strange, especially in today’s terms. When a man of status gets together with a younger woman, he has tirades of social media campaigns against him due to the age gap, even though a lot of women admit to wanting older men (we can debate why another day). Baseless accusations are thrown at these men. We only have to look at Zach Braff (and his former relationship with Florence Pugh, who, despite after breaking up, defended him) and Leonardo DiCaprio (who is the butt of every age gap meme) to understand that this part of the movie was strange. 

I’ll say it frankly: I rarely see an older woman scolded for enjoying an age-gap relationship with a younger man. In fact, I’ve seen it celebrated. 

An Ironic Double Standard

If anything, the trials and tribulations of the ending of The Idea of You set up a good debate about what this story means. Would the same narrative and dialogue be made if we gender-swapped the characters and the man was older? Izzy even asks her mother if Hayes is a feminist – an interesting question, but it felt wedged into the script needlessly at the tail end of the movie. And then, of course, Anne Hathaway’s character rolls her eyes, confirming he is a feminist before ending it with “but of course, he’s a man,” implying something untoward to his male nature, needlessly. 

Nicholas Galitzine (L) and Anne Hathaway (R) in The Idea of You (Credit – Prime Video)

Despite thoroughly enjoying it, I can’t help but sense that the movie has far too much irony. If this story is contemporary and based on the modern day, Hayes should have been complimented for going for the older woman rather than courting someone younger. That would have made more sense if we applied present-day sensibilities. Instead, Hayes is perfectly calm about the dynamic while other women tear down Soléne. 

Soléne’s ex-husband is the biggest hypocrite

However, the ending does correct one societal problem. Soléne’s ex-husband is uncomfortable with her finding a younger man despite cheating on her in the past with a younger woman, which is incredible hypocrisy, and the script rightfully calls him out for it. 

I sometimes wonder if storytelling today is self-aware. Fortunately, this movie was feel-good and served the right ingredients because it would have collapsed with its themes if it hadn’t.

How I would have ended ‘The Idea of You’

If I were writing The Idea of You, I would have a different ending. First, I wouldn’t have broken up Soléne and Hayes in the first place. That would be a valuable message in today’s society. Far too many judgmental and politically inclined groups are pushing an agenda of people’s private lives.

I would have had Soléne’s daughter encourage her mother to continue her relationship with Hayes regardless of the pressure. Let’s not forget that the mother lost her marriage and family unit due to her selfish ex-husband. Why was she not deserving of a happy ending? Why did she have to wait five years to be with the man she wanted to be with? 

Of course, I did not write the book, and I’m sure the fans behind this story embraced the ironies in the relationship between Soléne and Hayes. 

What did you think of The Idea of You ending? Any thoughts on the age gap theme? Comment below.

The post ‘The Idea of You’ Ending Approaches The Age Gap Problem Wrong appeared first on Ready Steady Cut.