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‘The Concept of You’ Overview: Surviving Superstar

Solène additionally feels actual disgrace and actual resolve in the midst of the winding fairy story story, which predictably has to go south. However most of all, she’s in a film that doesn’t attempt to disgrace her, or patronize her, or make her seem ridiculous for having needs and fantasies of her personal. She’s simply who she is, and it’s easy to know her enchantment to somebody whose life has by no means been his personal.

Directed by Michael Showalter, who wrote the tailored screenplay with Jennifer Westfeldt, “The Concept of You” succeeds principally due to Hathaway’s efficiency, although she and Galitzine spark and banter pleasurably (and he can dance and sing, too). It tweaks the novel in various methods — Hayes is older than the ebook’s character, for one factor — and in addition appears to implicitly comprehend it’s a film, and that motion pictures have an odd relationship with age-gap romances.

The truth is, that’s one in every of its strengths. A number of instances, characters comment on the double commonplace hooked up to individuals’s judgment of Solène and Hayes’s relationship, hypothesizing that in a gender-swapped scenario, individuals could be high-fiving the older man who landed the recent youthful star. Sixteen years appears like so much on paper, however within the motion pictures, at the very least, it’s barely a blip.

That musing is fascinating sufficient, if a well-recognized one. Extra fascinating in “The Concept of You” is its remedy of the cage of superstar. Hayes appears mature in contrast along with his bandmates and the women who comply with them round, however he’s additionally clearly caught in some form of arrested improvement. And I do imply caught: He’s self-aware sufficient to inform Solène, plaintively, that he auditioned for the band when he was 14 and never a lot has modified past his degree of fame. He needs a life past the highlight, badly.

And that’s simply what he can’t get. Neither can Solène, nor, ultimately, anybody round her. The thought of dwelling a quiet life would possibly clearly be out of attain, however the added parts of tabloid information and rabid followers unafraid to deal with Hayes as in the event that they know him make issues far worse. The movie begins to really feel a little bit like the story of a monster, however the monster is parasociality, inspired by the phantasm of intimacy that the fashionable celebrity machine depends on to maintain promoting tickets and merch and albums and no matter else retains the star within the highlight.

It’s most likely coincidental that “The Concept of You” comes on the heels of Taylor Swift’s newest album, “The Tortured Poets Division,” on which she strongly implies that her fastidiously cultivated fandom has made her love life a nightmare. However spiritually, at the very least, they’re of a chunk — even when the origins of the movie’s plot appear as a lot borne of parasociality as a critique of it. And that makes Hathaway’s efficiency additional poignant. She’s been dragged into that buzz noticed earlier than. And one way or the other, she’s discovered methods to make a life on the opposite aspect of it.

The Concept of You
Rated R for getting scorching and heavy, plus some language. Operating time: 1 hour 55 minutes. Watch on Prime Video.

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