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Fans Are Furious Over Blake Lively Starring in ‘It Ends With Us,’ as They Should Be

Blake Lively as Emily Nelson in A Simple Favor

Colleen Hoover’s controversial novel, It Ends With Us, is officially getting a film adaption from Sony and Wayfarer Studios. However, what really caused a stir was the revelation that Blake Lively will be starring in the film alongside Justin Baldoni. Meanwhile, Baldoni will also direct the film, with Lively and Hoover serving as executive producers. It is unclear what roles Lively and Baldoni will play, but some fans are assuming Lively will be starring as Lily, the lead protagonist of Hoover’s book.

Lively quickly started trending on Twitter following the news, and the response was far from positive. Mostly, fans were expressing their disappointment with Lively’s decision to join the adaptation of Hoover’s novel, which has drawn criticism for its depiction of domestic violence.

Questions about Hoover’s work arose after she became the bestselling author in the United States, with 20 million books sold. While many enthusiastically read her books for the cheesy love stories, thrills, and drama, those who dig a bit deeper will find her work problematic. How the author portrays abuse, sexual assault, and women has raised more than a few eyebrows. Among the Hoover novels called into question is one of her biggest hits, It Ends With Us.

Fans react to Lively joining It Ends With Us

The immediate response to Lively signing on to star in and produce It Ends With Us shows that dissent of Hoover’s work is steadily growing. It also means that those signing on to the film are likely aware of the criticisms of Hoover’s book. Now, fans are side-eyeing Lively pretty hard for her decision to join the film anyways.

The issue goes deeper than fans just not wanting to see their favorite celebrity in a cheesy Hoover adaption. Lively boasts real star power that will help draw audiences to a film that could potentially further spread the problematic messages of domestic abuse nestled within the book.

Lively has stirred up some controversy in the past, as well. She and Ryan Reynolds received backlash when they decided to have a plantation-themed wedding in 2012. While they have since apologized and called the decision a mistake, there’s really no reconciling the fact that they got married on a plantation which features a row of cabins once inhabited by enslaved people and referred to as “Slave Street.” Still, Lively’s career and high-profile relationship with Reynolds have been enough to largely maintain a fanbase. This latest announcement about It Ends With Us, though, seemingly has fans rethinking their support of the actor.

Why is It Ends With Us receiving backlash?

It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
(Atria Books)

While fans have zeroed in on Lively, it’s disappointing that the book is getting an adaptation at all. On the surface, It Ends With Us has been heralded as a groundbreaking novel and candid portrayal of domestic abuse. It is supposed to be about Lily’s struggle and her ultimately choosing to break the cycle of domestic abuse. Her story is pretty heartbreaking: She’s a woman who was abused by her father and witnessed her mother being abused, only to end up in an abusive relationship herself. It Ends With Us definitely had the potential to start a powerful discussion on cycles of abuse and their impact.

However, Hoover and her publishers got it wrong from the jump by classifying the novel as a “romance” instead of as a story about domestic abuse. She then chose to make the abuser, Ryle, a man with a sob story who uses his childhood trauma as an excuse for his behavior. Hoover also made Ryle’s relationship with Lily steamy to get readers to actually root for the couple to work out, encouraging them to turn a blind eye to the abuse. Meanwhile, the many scenes of abuse and sexual assault are written in disturbing detail alongside a constant reiteration of the electric, undeniable connection between Ryle and Lily, to the point that it seems to be romanticizing an abusive relationship.

Some BookTokers and YouTubers have come away from It Ends With Us with extremely disturbing views on domestic abuse, with some going as far as to call themselves “Team Ryle” and criticize Lily for leaving him. The book also encourages women not to pursue legal action against their abusers, even if it’s to protect their children. In It Ends With Us and the sequel, It Starts With Us, Lily decides she has no choice but to co-parent and leave her infant daughter unsupervised with her abusive sex offender ex-husband. Anytime she considers legal action—because her life is literally in danger every time she drops her daughter off with her abuser—she is deterred or talked down from it and told that she has to co-parent.

Needless to say, It Ends With Us is filled with very problematic material that could easily cross over into the film, especially since Hoover is directly involved in the adaption.

(featured image: Lionsgate)

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Rachel Ulatowski is a Freelance Writer, blogger, and aspiring author. As a Freelancer Writer she hopes to give readers the same comfort and enjoyment that she finds in all things nerdy and noteworthy, as a blogger she enjoys snarking on YouTubers and reality stars, and as a future novelist she hopes to raise awareness for child abuse through literature.