Anne Hathaway Shines In This Unconventional Romance [SXSW 2024]

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Showalter has played with romance plenty in his films in the past, be it the based-on-a-true-story “The Big Sick” or 2020’s “The Lovebirds,” which tragically ended up going straight to Netflix. Here, he is once again bringing something new to the table: a layered film that could easily get lost in the weeds with its somewhat silly setup. How many ways could “slightly older woman meets guy from a boy band at a music festival” devolve into something utterly trashy and/or ridiculous? And yet, Showalter manages to find a balance and make this feel shockingly real. It’s human. It’s touching. It never loses sight of the bigness of what is going on, yet it still feels relatable to anyone who has ever felt human emotion in this arena.

The other nice bit is that Showalter and co-writer Jennifer Westfeldt don’t shy away from addressing the age gap between Solène and Hayes. Rather, it makes it a part of the narrative because, let’s be honest, it’s something that would be talked about. Not addressing it would feel disingenuous. At the same time, there are more than a few ways of trying to address it that might feel more than a little off-putting. It never ventures into such territory. It feels honest. It feels real. It feels like it carries some real-world weight.

Nobody plays with this genre quite like Showalter. This feels like a blockbuster in the way “As Good as It Gets” or even “Crazy Rich Asians” feel like blockbusters. It’s the kind of movie people are going to fall in love with and watch over and over again. It’s not disposable like a Hallmark movie of the week or a straight-to-streaming attention grab. It’s genuinely funny while also basking in the very believable romance of it all.

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