Although Robinne Lee's 2017 novel The Idea of You was a huge hit with readers and built up a devoted fanbase, many of those who read the book were left very disappointed with its rather downbeat ending.


And so, when it was announced that a new film version was set to be made for Amazon Prime Video – with Anne Hathaway and Nicholas Galitzine leading the cast – a significant portion of those readers hoped that the screen version might opt to give them a more positive final act.

Well, that film has now arrived on the streamer on the back of some good reviews from critics – so if you want to know whether the film does change that ending, you can read on for everything you need to know.

Be warned, though: there are obviously spoilers for both the book and the film of The Idea Of You beyond this point.

The Idea of You ending – how it differs from the book

Following some time apart due to the constant press intrusion into their personal lives, the film ends with Hayes showing up to surprise Solène at her LA gallery – with the implication being that they will resume their relationship and enjoy a happily-ever-after together.

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This could not be more different from the way Lee ended the novel, which led to a certain amount of controversy – and even devastation – among her readers back when the book was published in 2017 (and, indeed, ever since, as new readers have continued to discover it).

Although the book ends with Solène admitting she still loves Hayes, she refuses his regular phone calls and texts because she has decided that their relationship won't be feasible in the long term, ultimately leading to them losing all contact.

"I resisted responding," she says in the novel. "Because I had made a choice. I miss you. I’m thinking of you. I still love you. And then one day, they stopped. Long, long before I had stopped loving him."

Nicholas Galitzine and Anne Hathaway in an embrace, about to kiss.
Nicholas Galitzine and Anne Hathaway as Solène and Hayes in The Idea of You. Prime Video

Speaking exclusively to about the change to the book's ending, director Michael Showalter explained: "I think, for me, it was more just as the filmmaker, and as a fan of romantic comedy and romantic movies, this felt like the kind of movie where we wanted to give the audience a hopeful ending."

He added: "And so, we certainly could have ended the movie in a different way. But for this story, we felt like a more uplifting ending was what would be most satisfying for our audience.

"And ultimately, the audience is what matters most when making a movie like this."

Throughout the film, there are a number of other changes from the novel – for example, the fact that Hayes is 24 when he begins a relationship with Solène, rather than 19, as was the case in the book – but producer Cathy Schulman explained how it was more about capturing the spirit of the book than making sure everything was exactly the same.

"A book and filmed entertainment are so completely different - one is internalised one is externalised - and so, you know, I always try to look at it like, what is the mood and the underlying kind of spirit... that comes out of the novel? And to take that and bring it forward," she said.

The Idea of You is now streaming on Prime Video.


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