MOVIE REVIEW: The Hating Game

As someone who absolutely adored The Hating Game novel, I was both exceedingly excited to watch the movie and also dreading the experience. I think you know the feeling – when you’re hoping something is going to be great, but fearing that it’ll be an utter disappointment. So, I snuggled up on the couch with my husband on a cold winter day and dove into this sexy rom com with very mixed emotions.

And I’ve got thoughts. Lots of thoughts.

The BEST part of the movie was the pure nostalgia that I felt watching it. There are so many moments and snippets from the book that brought my love of the characters rushing back to me. I was watching one of my favorite books come to life, complete with that fantastic height difference and those tension-filled scenes. It’s been a few years since I’ve read the book, but all of those little moments came back to me as I was watching, and that was so incredibly fulfilling and fun for me.

It wasn’t without its downsides though. The book is a delicious slow burn, filled with quieter moments that build along the way, and the movie is… fast. It breaks the book down to its bare essentials and takes out all of the “extra” stuff. So, while it follows along the basic journey, most of those more nuanced moments get lost along the way. The movie doesn’t feel like a slow burn whatsoever, and it also loses some of the best parts of Josh’s character. As in, we don’t get those little gestures and mannerisms that make his feelings known. (BOOK SPOILERS) That scene where they almost hook up at Josh’s apartment, but he pulls back at the last minute? In the book, you get the sense that he doesn’t want to be just a one night stand for Lucy – he won’t cross that line until he’s more. In the movie, it’s just completely glossed over, and it’s only a few minutes later that they’re banging at the wedding. When he talks about the color of his wall matching her eyes? It’s like one sentence in the movie, not the swoony scene that it is in the book. I actually mentioned the context to my husband in frustration while we watched, and he was like… what? He barely even knew that Josh had been pining.

But you know what? We both enjoyed the movie. It’s by far the best rom com movie I’ve watched in a long time. Yeah, sure, I like a Hallmark movie once in awhile, but I don’t consider them to be of the same caliber as You’ve Got Mail, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, She’s All That, Never Been Kissed, or any of the “classics” from back in the day. This was a rom com that I probably would’ve sincerely enjoyed on its own, even without the context of the book. And my husband did too. He pretended to read a horror novel while we watched, but I could clearly see him watching the movie over the top of it like 75% of the time, and he followed along with the plot the whole way through. He also wanted me to pause it when he got up to get snacks, which is more telling than anything else, lol. So that’s a win, for sure.

Ultimately, I’m not going to give the movie a rating. Am I glad that I watched it? Definitely. It makes me want to go back and read the book again, or maybe listen to the audio this time. It got me a little swoony and invested in the story. I also thought parts of it were laughable and 20 more minutes of quieter moments probably would’ve made it a much better experience, but I liked it. Both lead actors do an excellent job with what they were given, script-wise, and there was obvious chemistry between them. Lucy Hale makes the perfect Shortcake, and Austin Stowell gets Josh’s vibe right. And did I mention that height difference? lol. There were a couple of scenes that took the sexual tension up a notch, though the actual steam was decidedly lacking. We do get to see Josh’s butt though, so *shrug.*

All in all, I’m calling this one a win. And if you still haven’t read the book yet, what are you waiting for?

Where to Watch:

Did I go to a movie theater in the middle of a pandemic? Hell no. I went on Prime and paid $6.99 for an HD rental, and it was well worth the money. You can rent the movie at: or preorder the Bluray/DVD at: The rental is available now, the physical copy releases on February 8th.

Movie Blurb:

Resolving to achieve professional success without compromising her ethics, Lucy embarks on a ruthless game of one-upmanship against cold and efficient nemesis Joshua, a rivalry that is complicated by her growing attraction to him.

As assistants to the co-CEOs of a publishing company, Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman sit across from each other every day – and they hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. H-A-T-E. Lucy can’t understand Josh’s joyless, uptight approach to his job and refusal to smile, which is in stark contrast to her bright clothes, quirkiness, and effusive people-pleasing. Trapped in a shared office 5 days a week, they’ve become entrenched in an addictive, ridiculous never-ending game of one-upmanship. Lucy can’t let Josh beat her at anything – especially when a huge new promotion to be Managing Director is up for grabs. They strike a deal that whoever does not get the promotion must quit. It’s game-on – But as tensions reach boiling point and an innocent elevator ride turns into a steamy kiss, Lucy begins to realize just how fine a line there is between love and hate.

Based on the best-selling book by Sally Thorne, THE HATING GAME tells the story of ambitious good girl Lucy Hutton (Lucy Hale) pitted against her cold, efficient work nemesis, Joshua Templeton (Austin Stowell), for a huge promotion at publishing company Bexley&Gamin. Trapped in a shared office, Lucy embarks on a ruthless game of one-upmanship against Josh, a rivalry that turns increasingly complicated by her mounting attraction to him after an innocent elevator ride turns NSFW. Is it love or just another game in their never-ending pursuit for the top job?


One of my all-time favorites, and so influential to many, many other contemporary romances. If you loved The Spanish Love Deception but weren’t reading romance when The Hating Game was released, it’s time to go back and read it. I’d share my original review, but it’s very lame, so just go with the recommendation, lol!

Book Blurb:

Debut author Sally Thorne bursts on the scene with a hilarious and sexy workplace comedy all about that thin, fine line between hate and love.

Nemesis (n.) 1) An opponent or rival whom a person cannot best or overcome.

                       2) A person’s undoing

                       3) Joshua Templeman

Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.

Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.


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