Robinne Lee responded to 'The Idea of You' changing her book's ending.

The Idea Of You Author "Can't Stand" The Movie’s Changed Ending

Hayes & Soléne's romance ended differently in the book.

A lot of things get changed when a popular book is adapted into a movie, and that was certainly the case for The Idea of You. Prime Video’s rom-com may be based on Robinne Lee’s 2017 novel of the same name, but it makes a pretty major alteration to how that story ends. And Lee doesn’t exactly love that choice.

Spoiler alert: This post discusses the end of both the book and movie versions of The Idea of You. In Lee’s book, Soléne breaks things off with Hayes out of respect for her daughter’s discomfort. And although he pleads with her to take him back, she never does. However, the movie ends with a five-year flash-forward, as Hayes and Soléne reconnect and offer some hope that they may actually get back together.

The movie’s director and co-writer Michael Showalter told TVLine the change was made to add an uplifting element for audiences. “There is sort of an element of, like, giving the people what they want. There is some of that,” he said. “I just think, with a movie like this, you want to feel good.”

But the “happily ever after” moment is the exact opposite of what Lee was going for with her book. “It’s not real and that’s what really bothers me. I can’t stand that,” Lee told Jezebel of the movie’s final scene.

Prime Video

“I don’t know. I think as young girls we’re fed so many fairy tales about the prince and the knight in shining armor, and it’s not real,” Lee continued. “It’s a lot to put on us, that expectation — when we start looking for real-life partners and what a relationship should look like, and what a partnership should look like. It just kind of screws with our heads.”

Lee explained that she wanted the story to end on a more grim and realistic note to challenge expectations with the romance genre. “I understand for some people, there’s a time and place for escapism. And some people need that because the oppression or the heaviness of real life is, like, ‘I need something to just get me out of this moment!’ But I’d like to give the other people another option; those who don’t necessarily need their little bit of levity and escape to be completely frothy, and not have something more gravitas.”