Controversial Blake Lively film slammed for ‘looking like a rom-com’ when it’s actually really dark

Blake Lively and Justin Baldoni star in It Ends with Us (Picture: Sony Pictures)

The first pictures from Blake Lively’s new film, an adaptation of Colleen Hoover’s book It Ends with Us, have sparked backlash for the ‘insane’ way they depict the story.

Gossip Girl actress Lively, 36, acts opposite Justin Baldoni, 40 – who also directs – in the big screen adaptation of Hoover’s bestselling 2016 novel.

However, fans have been left unimpressed by the nature of the movie photos released, which show Lively as young business owner Lily Bloom and Baldoni as ambitious neurosurgeon Ryle Kincaid at the centre of a whirlwind romance.

In one shot, they’re enjoying karaoke together, while in another Lively as Lily is seen holding his face tenderly as they have a discussion.

There’s also a picture of Lively sitting in a restaurant smiling up at co-star Brandon Sklenar (1923, Vice), who plays Lily’s old childhood friend and rival for her heart, Atlas Corrigan.

As those who have read the book know, however, It Ends with Us is centred around a storyline of domestic violence, which has previously seen the book branded ‘toxic’ despite its popularity on TikTok, which inspired a 2022 sequel – It Starts with Us.

Fans are not happy about how pictures are depicting the film’s storyline (Picture: Sony Pictures)

The movie is an adaptation of Colleen Hoover’s bestselling novel (Picture: Sony Pictures)

‘Still insane to me that they promote this as a romance book/movie,’ commented Rem on X alongside the film’s stills.

‘I find it very odd that the book and now the movie are promoted as a romance story,’ agreed @lizthedamnszn.

Over on Instagram, the frustrations were even more stark with @sophiamaria.s asking: ‘Can you stop advertising it as a romance movie?? It’s about domestic violence.’

‘Just a reminder this is not a romantic movie! It depicts a toxic and extremely abusive relationship,’ added @maggiecaverhill.

Brandon Sklenar (R) also stars as Atlas Corrigan, Lively’s character Lily’s childhood sweetheart (Picture: Sony Pictures)

‘For people who haven’t read the book it’s not a romance 💀,’ warned @lumq.x, while @charlaezb insisted: ‘The movie should be advertised as a tragedy, not a romance!!’

However, others defended both the film, which director Baldoni has been working on for five years, and the book, arguing that the initial romance was a vital part of the plot.

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It Ends with Us catapulted Colleen Hoover to fame, leading to a sequel and many more books

‘It starts out as a romance story and ends in domestic violence. That’s the point of the story. How you can get love bombed and then end up in a situation like, especially coming from a traumatic childhood, and how you can find yourself trauma bonding with someone,’ posted @blayy_4, adding: ‘But the most important message is how she chose to end the cycle of violence.’

‘For all the comments about “it’s not a romance, it’s about a toxic relationship involving DV” that’s the point of it. To recognise that dv still happens, and they probably are gonna show how to get out of it, and get help,’ wrote @alisha.jj.204.

‘It is adapted to show people who are going through the same thing, that they are not alone, and will give them hope that there is a way out for them.’

Actor Baldoni, pictured with co-star Lively on set, also directs the film (Picture: Jose Perez/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

Hoover has said book fans will be ‘happy’ with the movie adaptation (Picture: Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)

Author Hoover was inspired to pen the novel by her parents’ own relationship.

She told People magazine that director Baldoni, known for playing Rafael in Jane the Virgin, alongside the cast and crew, ‘maintained the essence of this book in a delicate and beautiful way’.

‘The readers are the reason this book has been adapted, and I appreciate how much Justin wants to make sure those readers get the movie they deserve,’ she added.

‘I’m confident they’ll be happy with what has been created.’

The It Ends with Us cast also includes Jenny Slate, Hasan Minhaj and Amy Morton, as well as Isabela Ferrer and Alex Neustaedter playing the young versions of Lively and Sklenar’s characters.

Metro.co.uk has contacted Sony and reps for Lively and Baldoni for comment.

It Ends with Us is scheduled for release in cinemas on August 9.

Who to call if you need help

For emotional support you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline, run by Refuge and Women’s Aid, on 0808 2000 247.

If you are in an LGBT relationship you can also call the helpline run by Broken Rainbow and Galop UK, on 0800 9995428.

Male victims can call also the Men’s Advice Line on 0808 801 0327.

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