The Hating Game movie brings Sally Thorne’s best selling enemies-to-lovers story of the same name to life. Fans have fallen in love over and over again with Lucy and Joshua since the book’s 2016 publication and now they come to life again with Lucy Hale and Austin Stowell playing the much-beloved characters.
The Hating Game is the story of Lucy Hutton. She’s the assistant to one of Bexley & Gamin’s co-CEOs and every day she goes to the office and sits across from her nemesis Joshua Templeman. She posits that there’s a fine line between love and hate in the opening voiceover; indeed, she’s been engaged in a battle of wits since the two publishing houses merged.
Lucy is a free spirit who enjoys Smurfs and a desk that reflects her train of thought. Joshua is precise and fastidious. The office loves Lucy and fears Joshua. When a new office manager position becomes available, they both jump on it. Their game turns into all out war until one kiss changes the rules of engagement.
Hale shines bright in the movie, lacing wit and whimsy into Lucy’s every move while Stowell’s staunch Joshua has a twinkle in his eye throughout. The casting is brilliant; not only is their banter sheer perfection, but the height difference between Hale and Stowell captures the physical qualities of the characters as well. (It’s a delight seeing him lift her up to kiss her on several occasions, whether it’s the railing of the elevator or on a park bench)
The story moves along at a solid clip. Coming in just north of ninety minutes, it’s impossible to fit everything into the movie but screenwriter Christina Mengert does a handy job at keeping the important scenes intact.
There were some slight changes in the script that make the story stronger, in my opinion, such as how the elevator scene takes place in the movie as opposed to what happens in the book. I won’t spoil it here (I’ll be discussing it in the podcast) but as much as I love the scene in the book I think the switch for the movie ends up making it work better in the long run.
I also appreciate that the movie doesn’t hold back on the sexy moments that made the book what it is. While it’s labeled a comedy, it’s more than a comedy and far more than the traditional “rom-com” label that frequently gets applied to romance adaptations.
If you’re looking for something to watch this holiday season that toes the line between naughty and nice, then definitely check out The Hating Game. It’s available in select theaters and on demand.