Hating Game Book Outshines New Movie


HarperCollins Publisher

The movie adaptation of The Hating Game, by Sally Thorne, falls flat of the book’s best parts.

Evelyn Blower, Assistant Editor in Chief, Opinion and Features Editor

Romance on the tip of the iceberg. Devious banter. Threatening to send the other to Human Resources. Heartfelt moments that will make you believe in love. “The Hating Game,” a novel by Sally Thorne, perfectly encapsulates the enemies-to-lovers trope of all the best contemporary romances. So why is the movie adaptation so bad?

True to the title, main characters Joshua Templeman and Lucy Hutton make a game of hating each other in their publishing house, especially when a promotion is on the line. She’s geeky, down to Earth, and has an adorable relationship with her parents. He directly contradicts her fun and loving character with harsh treatment of his coworkers and a displeasing disposition.

Who better to play these parts than actors that oppose the characters?

Lucy Hale, cast as Lucy Hutton, does not fit the character description at all. The casting of the “Pretty Little Liars” actress doesn’t quite encapsulate the character Sally Thorne was really writing. Her role in the movie, while true to the book, fails to fit the face or the character and it shows. Hale’s outfits, her dialogue (and subsequent line delivery), and her portrayal is not accurate to Thorne’s representation of Hutton.

Austin Stowell plays Joshua Templeman, the hard nut of the office. He looks more fit to be in a Hallmark movie, playing a business man stuck in a small town. It’s difficult for a hunk-like, yet soft-natured man like Stowell to play the harsh character that Josh Templeman first presents in the book. And to add, his character’s stoic dialogue and Stowell’s struggle to portray the cold Joshua Templeman throw the viewer off immediately.

The movie casts many red flags for big fans of the book, or those hoping for an accurate representation of it. Starting off with instant tension between the two main characters, the movie portrays their relationship as more of a steamy romance, which the book saves for much later. Though there is hilarious banter in the book, the actors’ charisma with each other makes the viewer grate their teeth and cringe. 

The details from the book are there, the important tropes and characters are all there, but they just don’t fit together at all. The cinematography glorifies New York, but some scenes unnecessarily interrupt the plot. Redeemable parts of the movie, though rare, were the side characters and the inclusion of a lot of romantic details in the book. 

Fans of the novel may find themselves wondering: where did that crucial ‘enemies to lovers’ trope go? A thoughtful book that could have been so much more was turned into another generic holiday Hallmark-style movie that discredits Sally Thorne’s incredible characterization and worldbuilding. 

For those who want to read the book, be prepared that there are some scenes of explicit nature, but they do not dominate the book, which is best suited to those 16 and older. The movie is also rated R, for some cursing and a sexually explicit scene, so be careful heading to the movie theaters, though I recommend you don’t.