5 best movies like 'The Idea of You'

Nicholas Galitzine and Anna Hathaway in Prime Video's original romance drama "The Idea of You"
(Image credit: Prime Video)

"The Idea of You" is a polarizing film. While some have written it off as a fanfiction-inspired fantasy based loosely on the persona of superlative pop star Harry Styles, those who have actually watched the film have found it charming and surprisingly smart with the way it treats the dynamic between a youthful celebrity and a much older woman.

Where to stream 'The Idea of You'

"The Idea of You" is streaming on Prime Video

Robinne Lee, author of the book of the same name that inspired the film, was open in the past about how Styles inspired her but has come out in recent weeks pushing back on the notion that the film is just fanfiction. In an interview with EW, Lee clarified that “Harry was one of multiple people who went into creating [main character] Hayes Campbell... and so that’s what people have latched onto. It’s unfortunate because it’s being used as clickbait, and when I’m writing for Hayes, I’m not picturing Harry Styles.”

Though Lee is clearly unhappy with the notion that Styles solely inspired the character in the film, it's clear that the filmmakers leaned into this association, with many eagle-eyed viewers catching overt references to the singer. 

However, no matter whether you are interested in the movie for its Harry Styles connection, or its exploration of a non-traditional relationship, if you find yourself yearning for movies like "The Idea of You" we've got a few streaming picks that should help you recapture all the romantic vibes. 

'Notting Hill'

'90s romance aficionados are well-versed in the brush-with-fame romance, as this trope was executed to perfection in "Notting Hill," which stars Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts. In the film, Grant plays a bookseller whose world is turned upside down after a chance encounter with an A-list actress, played by Roberts. After sparks fly, the pair develop a strong relationship, despite the challenges of fame and their contrasting lifestyles creating obstacles for their love.

Though arguments and miscommunications threaten to derail their relationship permanently, the pair eventually find their happily ever after in a swoon-worthy ending that will make even the most cynical viewer believe in the power of love. 

Watch on MGM Plus

‘How Stella Got Her Groove Back' 

Another throwback from the '90s, "How Stella Got Her Groove Back" stars Angela Bassett as Stella, who goes on vacation and unexpectedly forms a deep connection with the much younger Winston Shakespeare, played by Taye Diggs. As the pair grow closer during her trip, Stella realizes that Winston might be the perfect man for her, but the age difference between them makes her second-guess her feelings. 

This film features white-hot chemistry between Bassett and Diggs, and fans of "The Idea of You" will likely appreciate the similar way the film tackles the complex dynamics between an older woman and a much younger man. 

Watch on Hulu

‘The Bodyguard' 

Even if you've never seen "The Bodyguard," chances are good you've heard some of the iconic songs from this film, starring Whitney Houston, including "I Have Nothing," "Run to You" and the chart-topping ballad "I Will Always Love You."

In addition to Houston, the film stars Kevin Costner as Frank Farmer, a former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard tasked with protecting Rachel Marron, a world-famous pop star targeted by a sinister assassination plot. Though Frank tries to keep his distance from the star, an undeniable chemistry exists between the pair, and a passionate romance soon develops. However, as the truth about the assassination threats is revealed, Farmer realizes he must make a massive sacrifice in the name of love. 

Rent/buy on Amazon or Apple

‘Magic Mike's Last Dance’ 

The third film in the steamy "Magic Mike" series, "Magic Mike's Last Dance" finds Channing Tatum's Mike Mendoza down on his luck, working as a bartender in Florida. However, after a chance encounter with beautiful and wealthy socialite Max Mendoza, played by Salma Hayek Pinault, Mike is given an opportunity to turn his fortunes around with a new gig choreographing a new show in London. 

Mike, drawn to Max's strength and vision, finds himself falling for her and their professional collaboration soon sparks into a passionate connection. However, the different power dynamics at play as well as Max's personal struggles create challenges for their blossoming relationship.

Watch on Max

The 'After' series

Love a guilty pleasure? If you enjoy leaning into the connection between "The Idea of You," and Harry Styles there's a whole series of films directly inspired by Styles. The "After" series of films is adapted from author Anna Todd's One Direction fanfiction, which garnered an eye-watering two billion views on Wattpad when it was published, the most ever for the platform. 

The five-film series follows the steamy relationship between Tessa and Hardin, the latter being the Harry Styles stand-in. The films have been widely panned by critics (the fourth film, "After Ever Happy" has a rock-bottom 0% on Rotten Tomatoes) but audiences have shown up in droves for these movies, with the series garnering almost $170 million worldwide at the box office. 

Currently, there are plans for at least two more "After" films, so if you find that you just can't look away from this series, you'll have plenty more to look forward to in the near future.

Watch on Netflix.  

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Amanda Kondolojy

Amanda Kondolojy is an entertainment journalist based in Florida with over 15 years of experience covering film, TV, theme parks and more. When not in front of a screen you can find her reading something at the beach (usually by Neil Gaiman, Grady Hendrix or Brandon Sanderson) or dancing around the kitchen to her favorite showtunes.