You, Me and the Movies (2024)


2,985 reviews25.5k followers

April 23, 2019

This is one for movie obsessives and film fans, Fiona Collins writes a story of Arden Hall, with a narrative that goes back and forth in time, from when as a university student she embarked on an emotionally intense and passionate relationship that was everything, revolving around the classic movies she loved and watched with her lover, Film Studies lecturer, Mac Bartley-Thomas, a man who was the centre of her world. As is often the case, this all consuming youthful love affair was destined to not last and Arden's life trajectory through the years shaped her into a very different woman from who she used to be. The trials and tribulations of the life she faced, included a troubled marriage, she is now thirty years later divorced, lonely, doing an uninspiring job, and to all intents and purposes, a broken woman.

On visiting a friend in hospital, the present day Arden coincidentally encounters her former lover, Mac, left with serious brain damage after an accident. Mac can only make short references to the great movie classics they watched all those years ago, such as Pretty Woman, and Casablanca. However, these references takes Arden vibrantly back to a time that meant so much to her and the woman full of life that she used to be, a life force to be reckoned to be. We are given a picture of how her life then began to take its toll on her. There is humour in this entertaining story of movies, love and of an Arden who slowly begins to find herself again to begin to live again. This an enjoyable read overall, but the storytelling at times made for a rather uneven reading experience. Many thanks to Random House Transworld for an ARC.

    contemporary-fiction netgalley women-s-fiction


1,445 reviews167 followers

July 13, 2019

Bizarrely I saw a review for this book, 'imagine One Day with movies', One Day is my favourite book and that review made me need this book in my life. When will I learn, these beautiful plain cover books can smash your heart, make you ugly cry and leave you broken.

I have been swept up in these pages, it's all been so vivid, theres not a character I didnt bond with, root for, feel for. I've been swept away by giddiness and punched so hard in the stomach I'm not sure when I'm going to get over it. One Day left me crying for days, I'm writing this review days after finishing and I'm still upset.

You, me and the movies, and music, books, long summer days and rainy nights, happiness, hope, youth, first loves, friendships, the future, the past, middle age, bad decisions and utter utter sadness.

And I'd read it again, I will read it again. I will read it again and again even though it's going to hurt.

I'm 100% sure this will be my book of the year, the book that may me cry the hardest, the book that I read with a weird sad hopeful smile until it smacked me round the face, the book that took me way longer to read than necessary because I could not see the words through my tears, the book that now sits beside One Day and Charlotte Street, my all time favourite reads.

Thank you Fiona Collins, you've broken me but that journey, that story, those movies, made it worth it.


Ivana - Diary of Difference

583 reviews921 followers

February 13, 2023

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You, Me and the Movies (4)

You, me and the movies is the perfect book for the fans of the movie theaters. It will fill an emptiness you have felt all your life, because such a book previously didn’t exist. Perfectly entwined movie references with one incredible love story is the only thing you might need for a perfect reading date. Okay, maybe hot chocolate too. And a warm blanket. And a few tissues…

Two people. Ten classic films. A love story you’ll never forget.

Arden has just started university when she meets Mac – and quickly falls head over heels for the handsome, charismatic film lecturer. Their love affair is dramatic, exciting and all-consuming; the sort of thing you only see in the movies. But it didn’t last…

And thirty years later, leading a very different life, Arden is visiting a friend in hospital when she suddenly comes across the man she never forgot. Badly injured in an accident, Mac can only make brief references to the classic films they once watched together: Casablanca, A Star is Born, Pretty Woman among others… and they make Arden remember everything.

Chapter by chapter we dive into the memories that Arden holds close to her heart. All the feelings she though she forgot now flow back to the surface. Mac can’t say more than a few words, but those words mean the world for Arden.

The bittersweet memories of their relationship help Arden re-connect with the world in a way she no longer thought was possible. But will a movie-worthy love ever be hers again?

This book gave me a story I wasn’t prepared for. I am a sucker for romance in real-life, but when it comes to books, I don’t ship couples easily, and I don’t do “awws” and “aaahs”. But this book got me. It captured my heart and then broke it into a million pieces.

I loved every single moment. Every single situation, every memory, every scene at the hospital. The whole story is surreal. Imagine encountering your ex from thirty years ago in a hospital, badly injured, and he can’t say anything more than words that mean so much to you.

And that is amazing, because he can at least say those words. But after so many years, don’t you want to know? Aren’t you curious about the why’s and the how’s and what happened after parts?

Arden had so many questions, unable to be answered. And maybe that was for the best. Leave the past behind and start again?

The time flow was immensely written, jumping from past to present, but in a very tidy and clear way, easy to get into. I knew exactly when in time we were, which made the reading experience significantly better for me.

And despite all this praise, I will still give this book four stars instead of five, and here is my why:

In a couple of years, I will probably remember only the vague details of this book. The movie references and the love story between Mac and Arden. But I will never forget how this book made me feel…

All those tears that I have shed because of them, all those movies I have watched, pausing the book for a while, just so I can grasp the whole meaning, and most importantly, all the ANGER I felt in the end. I finished the book, I read the last few pages and I was angry! Angry at Mac, and angry at Arden, angry at destiny and angry at the writer, for ending this book in this way.

I am slowly beginning to realise and understand why this was the perfect ending, but I can never get over the feeling of anger, and I don’t remember feeling anger in such a way about any other book. (This could be counted as a compliment, I suppose). And that is why this book can’t be my favorite. But it definitely did change something in my life and my experience, and I will carry that with me forever.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers Corgi , part of Penguin Random House, for sending me an ARC copy of You, Me and the movies, in exchange for my honest review.

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    arcs-2019 format-ebook genre-romance


51 reviews

July 25, 2022

Initially thought about giving 2 stars (at most); however, the last 10-20 pages blew me away! Especially that ending where Arden (MC) came into herself and started believing in her own strength rather than depending on other people to bring her up. I LOVED that message the author conveyed. Such a good note to finish on. The writing was okay, the plot kinda boring at times but the movie talk made it worth it. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it as in YOU MUST READ IT but if you have free time and want something easy to digest, or read lazily, go for it :)

    adult-fic contemporary romance

Elvina Zafril

568 reviews98 followers

September 21, 2020

You, Me and the Movies was an amazing book. I am not a huge fan of classic films, but I watched some of the films that were mentioned in the book. I honestly stayed up late to read this book because I just couldn't put it down.

It started with Arden who was being persuaded by her friend to visit someone in the hospital. When she's about to leave after the visit, her friend said something about another patient who looks just like Mac Bartley-Thomas. Mac and Arden met when they were in college. Mac was a lecturer of Film Studies at Warwick University. Arden is an English Literature student.

After hearing the comment from her friend, Arden went back to the hospital to double check whether the patient is Mac. She found out that the patient is Mac and the memories they had together when they were lovers somehow been flashing back. Arden returned to the hospital to visit Mac each evening. Mac was involved in such tragic and horrible accident which resulted in him barely being able to speak and move. I was so relieved that at the end on the first visit, Mac was able to quote the first film that they had seen.

This book has two timelime which are Now and Then. I enjoyed taken back and forth through time while reading it. I became completely engaged in the story of Arden and Mac and how those films became such an integral part of their relationship. The plot is so good. The pacing is good. I seriously can't get enough of this book.

Arden wasn't an instant-favorite character. It was hard for me to understand her character and it was quite difficult for me to relate to her character because she seemed so distant from her friends and the way I felt was her life doesn't give her much of a happiness. But all in all, throughout the story, her character became so strong and I believe you will fall in love with her.

This is such a perfect book for me and I can't believe I've never read any of Fiona Collins work before.

This book is beautifully written. Thank you Times Reads for sending me a copy of You, Me and the movies in return for an honest review.


Lee at ReadWriteWish

722 reviews86 followers

March 13, 2020

I read this as my C author book for my A-Z of romances. I thought, from the blurb and cover, it was chicklit and I suppose it was in some ways but, really, I’m not exactly sure how I’d catergorise it. It wasn't as funny as most chicklit, nor was it as romantic as I expected.

The book’s heroine is Arden, a 48 year old who’s suffered through an abusive relationship and come out the other side, only barely. She is visiting a friend in hospital when she spies her first (and last?) love in one of the beds. This, of course, stirs up the memories of their time together and we get to read about their relationship via flashbacks.

Mac was a lecturer and Arden a university student when they had an affair and, considering they’ve not seen each other in about 30 years, the reader realises how the flashbacks will pan out pretty early on. Mac taught film and throughout their romance, he and Arden watch and discuss a list of movies which would be featured in his lectures (hence the title).

I loved reading about the movies. Most I’ve seen; they’re famous movies, nothing obscure. Mac’s theme for the movies is the way women are depicted in each. I did enjoy reading Mac and Arden’s take on whether there’s anything feminist about the likes of Fatal Attraction or Pretty Woman. I’m not sure I agreed with all their views, but they were a fun part of the book.

The flashbacks also help Arden realise she can be strong enough to live her life the way she wants to now her abusive ex is out of her life and that perhaps she might get another chance at a romance that doesn't end badly.

So, on paper, the book sounds like a winner. But…

I’ve been trying to put my finger on exactly what is wrong with You, Me and the Movies and I think my biggest beef is the fact there’s no clear hero. I started reading the book thinking the hero was Mac but, into the mix, came James, Mac’s neighbour who also starts visiting Mac in hospital.

A minor issue was Arden’s age. Okay, I loved her age, 48, almost the same as me. And yet, she never really seemed to act that age. She doesn’t act like a teenager but I always had the feeling she and her friends seemed to be in their 30s. I also had the dilemma of Mac’s age. I couldn’t quite work out how old he was supposed to be in the 'now' scenes.

The book is sad and dramatic at times but I wasn’t really moved by it unfortunately. It also had touches of feminism and empowerment but nothing that made me punch the air in triumph.

I must admit I was enjoying the book much more in the beginning and it was around the 50% mark that I became restless with it. It felt long but when I checked it was only around 350 pages so...
Not a good sign. I guess everything was a little average and that was the problem.

Average rating of 3 out of 5.

    chick-lit english-author net-galley

Rachel Gilbey

3,000 reviews544 followers

March 31, 2019

Well this felt completely different to previous books from Fiona Collins - it was less humorous and more real life in feel.

If you are a big classic movie buff you will probably love this story, however I hadn't seen most of the films discussed in depth, and found I was skimming the sections where Arden and Mac were analysing the films. I just like watching films for the story and without looking for hidden messages.

Speaking of which I'm fairly sure there is a message within this book, it felt like that sort of story, but for the life of me I couldn't quite put my fingers on it.

Alternating between present day life for Arden, and her great love affair with Mac, thirty years earlier, we see just how life has changed her, and Mac. I enjoyed seeing how the two timelines progressed, while at the Same time just felt slightly disconnected from the book and its characters.

I had such high hopes for this book, given how much I have previously enjoyed the author, but it just fel short for me. In places it was enjoyable, and I was getting lost in the pages and at other times, I just wasn't as convinced.

Thank you to Corgi and Netgalley for this copy which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.


560 reviews22 followers

April 15, 2019

I can’t begin to say how much I LOVED this book. It had me laughing, falling in love and ultimately crying. The agony that is first love was very convincingly written and I was there with them in their private screening room, watching the classic movies that I too love so much. Life doesn’t end with the happily ever after drive off into the sunset of movies, and this story explores the ‘what next’ aspect of storytelling. #NetGalley


87 reviews2 followers

July 25, 2019

“What happens after the happily after?”

You, Me and the Movies is a bittersweet, nostalgic contemporary-romance about tarnished fantasies, regrets and second chances

I’m not one for romance but I like a small dose now and then; something to lift me out of my moody spells and leave me sighing with a content, full heart. I also prefer my romance in the form of movies, with a dash of Hollywood magic. So when my book club mate, Michelle, mentioned You, Me and the Movies, it didn’t take long for a copy to end up on my Kindle. And I couldn’t be more glad it did.

You, Me and Movies is not your typical rom-com featuring star crossed lovers who make it despite all odds with cute film references sprinkled throughout. It’s a bittersweet tale tinged with nostalgia, loss, regret, appreciation for movies, overcoming the past and jumping on those precious second chances when they come by. And it hooks you in almost immediately by making you care about its characters.

Arden in the beginning of the book is a middle-aged woman, a creature of routine, stuck in a mundane job trying to find herself again after escaping an abusive marriage that’s left her closed off to external relationships. But she’s transported back to the past after a chance encounter with an old flame - a married film studies lecturer she met as a student in uni - who’s barely clinging on to life after a car accident.

As Arden reminisces her past, we are introduced to a completely different side of her - the bright, wild and selfish side - and get to know what went down with her and the film professor, Mac, one movie at a time. “The List” as it’s referred to in the book is a thoughtfully curated collection of classic Hollywood movies that corresponds to Arden’s and Mac’s illicit affair from its salacious beginning to its woeful end. Fiona Collins’ love of movies is apparent throughout the book and reflected cleverly through the insights made by her characters and through a smattering of amusing references.

What makes this book special is the characters and how invested you get as Collins takes them through good times, bad times, serendipitous turns, heartbreaking realizations and nostalgia trips. And despite delving in sensitive topics such as abuse, depression, extra-marital affairs and more, the book never gets melodramatic. Collins is tactful in her approach and guides both the characters and the readers delicately through heavy themes, never lingering longer than needed.

Collins will take you through a rollercoaster of emotions and make you reassess several things about your own journey. There were several times when I found myself wondering the same things about my life as Arden did hers. The importance of reaching out and keeping people in your life, opening yourself up to new experiences, not dwelling on the past and using it instead a tool to better understand yourself and move on and most importantly, knowing that the best years of your life are still ahead of you.


Shalini (shaliniandbooks)

2,591 reviews216 followers

January 4, 2020

A different kind of a story with a sprinkle of romance, nostalgia, happiness and sadness. Just like life. The story spanned the past and the present and made way for the possibility of a future.

Arden had an affair with a professor Mac who was a classic movie buff. Cut to the present time, she saw a man on the hospital bed who resembled Mac. He had a stroke and aphasia and could talk only in phrases. All of them were from the movies he saw with Arden during their short affair.

My first book by Fiona Collins, it was fun to read the present and get the visuality of the past through Arden's memories. I loved how the author showed me happiness and love for the old classics. There was something so special when the characters remembered the dialogues. I got to see the kaleidoscope of their life together, in all colors.

The author's writing made me smile, and emotions gathered in me when I learned about Arden's life in the present. Quite a contrast from the effervescent girl she was. I loved how the author got her out of the shell slowly down the pages, and I got to see the woman who had found her joie de vivre.

All shades of life were sensitively dealt with by the author. There was much to smile about, some to cry and frown. But it was all about letting go of past and living life completely in the present, finding the small joys in life.


597 reviews28 followers

August 14, 2020

Se me hizo un poco largo pero lo demás me gustó.La parte de la historia de amor juvenil muy bien escrita.Con los personajes adultos me fue más difícil conectar. Lo mejor son las contínuas referencias a películas clásicas y otras no tanto que me causaron curiosidad.


356 reviews11 followers

September 29, 2019

What happens once the film has finished?

Arden is a survivor. She has left her abusive husband and although she is keeping people at arms length, she is fine.

Then one evening, after being persuaded to visit someone in hospital, as she is leaving the ward, her friend comments that another patient looks like Mac Bartley-Thomas. Mac was a lecturer at Warwick Uni when Arden had been a student there. Arden makes an excuse to go back to the ward to double check - and yes, the patient is Mac. This sends a whole host of memories cascading down on Arden as she and Mac had been lovers. Spending almost 3 years together Mac, a Film Studies lecturer and Arden, an English Lit student, work their way through some iconic films.

Arden returns to the hospital to visit Mac each evening. Mac has had an accident which has resulted in Mac barely being able to speak but at the end of the first visit, Mac is able to mutter a quote from the first film that they had seen.

We are taken back and forth through time as Arden reminisces over the affair between them and the young woman that she was. The films that they watched together really helped to see the relationship that Arden and Mac had.

This is more than a "chick book" or a "romance" book. This is about friendships and relationships and how through remembering how she was 30 odd years ago, Arden begins to rebuild herself and believe that she can take charge of her destiny again.

I even think that I liked (almost) all of the characters too - and that never happens.

    arc kindle read-in-2019

Mary Torjussen

7 reviews16 followers

March 19, 2019

I loved this book. It's such a great premise and the characters were wonderfully drawn. I was at university around the same time as Arden and so many memories flooded back when I read the book - not only the clothes and music and movies, but also the feelings of a young woman let loose on the world. She is a fantastic character. And Mac... well, I know Arden shouldn't have gone there, but I couldn't blame her at all! This is a book which would make a great Richard Curtis movie - it's feel-good and poignant and very, very funny.

Joanne Robertson

1,374 reviews639 followers

January 5, 2020

This was the last book I read in 2019 and it really was a case of saving the best till last! I bloody loved this book! As some people may know, as well as loving books I am a huge film buff so to be offered a book that combined those two passions was a such a wonderful incentive for me. And even better, when I realised that the films that appear in the book are amongst some of my all time favourites, I became completely immersed in the story of Mac and Arden and how those films became such an integral part of their relationship.

Arden was a difficult character to like initially. I didn’t relate to her as she seemed to be very distant and standoffish especially towards her friends. Her life doesn’t appear to be giving her any happiness and I wondered what had happened to cause such a separation. When she discovers her old boyfriend Mac is in hospital whilst reluctantly visiting another friend, we start to discover more about her home life and relationship with her mother and the relationship that starts with a film studies lecturer when she attends university. As she sits by Mac’s bedside, he is only able to communicate with small references to those 10 films they watched together and as he does, Arden revisits their time together. I adored the film references, they didn’t feel contrived to fit in with the stages of her love story but flowed perfectly as part of looking at the bigger picture. It felt real, uplifting and life affirming as the lessons learned from watching life imitating art (or the other way round!) became the catalyst for change for everyone involved.

I can’t believe I’ve never read a Fiona Collins book before as she writes like a dream with complex characters who aren’t always likeable but who are believable and interesting. I found Ardens journey an emotionally draining one at times, she didn’t always make the right choices but I became fond of her as the book progressed and became more accepting of those decisions and the consequences that came from them.

This book was just the perfect read for me this festive season and I thoroughly enjoyed taking my time with it and promising myself that I would rewatch some of the films mentioned here to spot the references used to great effect throughout You, Me and the Movies and to raise a little glass of something to Mac and Arden.

Highly recommended by me!

Fay Flude

720 reviews39 followers

August 14, 2019

To begin with I really did think this was going to be a middle of the road nostalgic look back at a first love romance. I am not even a particular fan of films. And yet this story gripped be hard and would not let me go! I stayed up to the early hours to finish it, which is usually a good sign!
Arden escaped her Marilyn Monroe look-a-like and film star wannabe Mum to go to Warwick University. There she meets a Film Studies lecturer and embarks upon an intense love affair with Mac.
The story moves from the past to the present with memories being triggered by particular film references uttered by a very ill Mac in a hospital bed some thirty years after the pair were together.
The past doesn't just encompass Arden's love affair but explores the nature of parental love, what she didn't have from her mother and the love she felt for her father who dies. It is about pain - abusive relationships - about friendship, about betrayal, forgiveness and hope.
The characters are fantastic. I loved them all, particularly Arden, Mac and James.
To start with I was going to give this book 3 stars, then before half-way I was considering upping that to 4 stars. Having read the entire novel I am happy to give this book 5 stars. It is beautiful, funny, poignant and it did reduce me to tears at the end.
I would imagine if you are a movie buff, you will enjoy this book even more than I did.

Ailin Skye

Author7 books82 followers

October 23, 2020

La realidad que TAL COMO ÉRAMOS, es una obra de redención. Dos personajes que son villanos y a la vez victimarios. Que aman y ese amor les hace pagar a su vez durante gran parte de años. Es la culpa o el destino lo que hace que se les cobre con dolor, y a la vez, nos presenta a una mujer que creía que todo estaba perdido y un simple encuentro la hace recordar que vivía y que hay una vida después de pesadillas y sueños rotos. Me he quedado encantada con cada parte de esta obra. El elenco también acompaña y hace que la autora pueda dar una vuelta con un final positivo ante lo que la realidad puede traer, lo cierto es que quedé cautivada con esta historia que me dejó satisfecha.

Conocer la pluma de Fiona Collins ha sido una buen encuentro. Si bien me angustiaba no avanzar en su historia me doy cuenta que incluso a pausa fui disfrutando, sufriendo los altibajos y aprendiendo de esta vista tan femenina al reinventarse y recordar que nunca es tarde para volver a vivir. ¡Feliz lectura!


693 reviews14 followers

July 21, 2019

Amazing book, Super sweet, and I loved going between the different timelines. But, thought it would have a happier ending, but the ending was good.

✰ BJ's Book Blog ✰Janeane ✰

2,876 reviews12 followers

Shelved as 'dnf'

November 22, 2019

DNF at 15%

This one was definitely a case of it is not the book, it was me.
Just not in the right headspace to finish this one at this time.

    arcs-read-and-reviewed hot-for-teacher netgalley


1,535 reviews13 followers

January 8, 2020

I received a free copy via Netgalley in exchange for a honest review.

You do really need to be a film buff for this one.
In some places it just went into too much detail on the films leaving me struggling to not be bored.
Not for me overall.

    netgalley romance


1,874 reviews

March 28, 2019

Although this is a slower burner of a story. If you stick with it. I promise you will be rewarded at the end. Some great characters make up the cast of this book and it is a good story if you are willing to bear with it.


529 reviews37 followers

March 30, 2019

You, Me and the Movies is the story of Arden Hall, who discovers the university lecturer she had an affair with on the same ward. She hasn't seen Mac in nearly 30 years, and after a car accident Mac is left unable to speak. As she visits him, he begins to utter words that only have relevance to Ardie and the time they spent together.

The story is then told in present time as Ardie visits Mac, and flashbacks to their time together 28 years ago.

Look, I quite enjoyed this book. I did, however, find Ardie quite hard to relate to. Young Ardie was shallow and selfish and I don't think a nice person. Current day Ardie was much more down to earth, but even then the events of her life have hardened her and make her a difficult person to care for and get to know.

The growth and development of current day Ardie was perhaps the highlight of the book. From the memories Mac invokes, Ardie remembers the person who she used to be and makes some progress in healing the damage she has suffered.

At times though, it did feel a little like reading a film textbook and not how two people would converse with each other (at least, no people I know).

**I received an eARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**



165 reviews

September 29, 2020

Oh no
Here we go again

No sé como explicar mis sentimientos hacía este libro, pensé que era otra cosa y me sorprendió

Había leído solo la sinopsis y una reseña corta que decia que era como One Day

Y miren a mí me gusta One Day, así que como niña en tobogán deje que el libro me atrapara

Honestamente, leanlo. Aunque no tengan muchos conocimientos de películas, eso no les va a impedir de conocer y adentrarse en la trama que definitivamente nos presenta a más de una protagonista

Arden, pasado, es una chica atrevida, quiere salir siempre de su zona de confort, no le importa el que dirán
Arden, presente, es todo lo contrario

Una persona que muchas veces se sentía como dos pero eso sucede

La vida nos da demasiadas lecciones y aventuras que en el cabo de un año no somos ni la sombra de quien éramos en el pasado

Mac, pasado, es como un McDreamy pero con un conocimiento alto en películas
Mac, presente, ehmm...

Sin duda, lo recomiendo
Y si te gusta las rom coms, todavía más

Te vas a enamorar con la mística del cine

Leelynn (Sometimes Leelynn Reads) ❤

610 reviews90 followers

January 8, 2020

Disclaimer: I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you to DampPebbles Blog Tour and Corgi for this free copy. All quotes in this review are taken from the Advanced Reader Copy and may change in final publication.

I’m not gonna lie, fam. The first chapter of this novel had me in tears because I could not imagine all of the abuse and pain that Arden went through with her ex-husband. It made it very difficult for me to go on because of it, but I pushed through. Just how much he broke her and how I can see the aftermath of his treatment towards her for what had to have been years and years and years.

I don’t think I’ll be bubbly again, or have an outside chance of feeling that way again, since bubble after bubble was burst by the man who swore he loved me but reduced me a little more each day.

Do you know how much that line freaking broke me down because I could feel so much of it? I’ve been there, and while maybe not as much as she was, I know this feeling and I was honestly just so proud of her for being able to leave her abusive marriage. I want to say “finally” because I know that it took her years to leave it, but I don’t mean finally like a negative thing. I mean she had the courage to finally leave instead of continue to take this abuse for longer than she did.

I was just… really proud of her for leaving but also so freaking hurt for her because you could see how much that abuse affected her even after she left that relationship. She doesn’t even think that she deserves to be able to be friends with her former best friend Becky again because when she was married to her ex, he basically isolated her from all of her previous friends and she feels like she’s not worth being able to get back to the relationship that she had with her. Okay yes, that was freaking long winded, and I know you know what I mean, but my gosh.

Okay, I think I said enough of the sad parts that really, really, broke my heart from that very first chapter and I’m legit telling you. I was not sure if I would be able to read past it because I couldn’t see how Arden would allow herself to move on, because she already told us from the get go that she didn’t know how to move on. And honestly I don’t know how she was going to move on either.

I thought it was pretty interesting that the love interest for Arden could only really communicate and make connections through movie references, which may not seem like a novel thing, but I liked it. I know that there are a lot of us that make the occasional movie or pop culture references but like… to only be able to make references to the movies that you and another person watched in the past… that was pretty interesting. And I feel like that really helped Arden see a time before she was broken down by her ex-husband, and even if not all of the memories were super happy, they still gave her something different to think about.

I don’t even know if that makes sense, but you get me. I hope.

984 reviews

August 6, 2019

‘Do you ever wonder what happens after the end of the movie?’ I say. ‘After all the decisions have been made, all the kissing has been done, the baddies have been banged up, the goodies have found the treasure? Do you wonder what comes next?’

You, Me and the Movies is a book that certainly grows on you with its bittersweet, nostalgic reflections about past regrets and future possibilities. This story alternates between present day middle aged Arden and her reminiscing about the great love affair of her life with Mac when she was a university student. It is interesting to see how the dual narratives progress with its impact on present day.

‘I know I am a survivor, that I have survived so much, but I don’t know how to move on from it. How to get the old me back. I want to be funny and optimistic. I want to be someone people are happy to spend time with. It seems I have forgotten how to be that person.’

The highlight for me is, of course, the movie referencing. With Mac only able to converse (present day) with short references to famous films, it provides Arden with the trigger to reflect on what was and what has evolved. The list of classic movies provide the catalyst to all that unfolds in the reminiscing. A self confessed movie buff, I relished the references, everything from classics such as Casablanca and Kramer versus Kramer, to modern day ones such as Pretty Woman. I reveled in their discussion and analysis of the films, both in isolation and in tandem with how events were unfolding in the story. They provided the perfect link between the past and present narratives, providing the spark for often bittersweet reflections, yet simultaneously, a stimulus for fleshing out unfulfilled promises to younger selves. Will they provide the bridge to reconnect with the world when Arden thought there were no possibilities?

‘Showing up is not enough, I think. So much more is required. I want and need to apologize, to start over, to build a bridge I’m not sure I have the tools for. I simply don’t know where or how to start. ‘

This book slowly trundles along (a bit too dragged out in some passages) but I encourage you to persevere for the ending is heartfelt and enlightening. Don’t worry ... you don’t need to have watched all the films in question in order to enjoy the book (but it does deepen one’s appreciation). Also, this most certainly is not a light hearted romance. It is a well written story with an array of engaging characters with the themes of regret and redemption.

‘Mac believed in the magic of the movies, the finite Hollywood ending. But I also knew what he was saying was true–there were some things that weren’t magical, or turned out the way you wanted.’

Jo Shaw

446 reviews28 followers

April 24, 2019

When I was contacted by Transworld Books and asked if I wanted to read this book and be a part of the blog tour, I was intrigued. The premise of the book sounded right up my street, as I love movies almost as much as I love books. Here is the blurb:

After a marriage which threatened her entire sense of self, Arden Hall is divorced, doing a lacklustre job and living a quiet, rather unexciting life. But one day, visiting a friend in a London hospital, she suddenly re-encounters her former lover from thirty years ago, charismatic Film Studies lecturer, Mac Bartley-Thomas, who is lying in a bed on the same ward.

Suffering from a brain injury and unable to converse, all Mac can utter is short references to the famous films he and Arden once watched together, back when she was a student and they conducted their affair: Casablanca, Bonnie and Clyde, Some Like It Hot and more…

These movies spark both bittersweet memories of their passionate relationship and the potential for a more reflective Arden to finally fulfil the promise of her younger self. And in the course of her visits to Mac, she starts to reconnect with the world in a way that she didn’t think was possible…

I think I am probably at an advantage because I have seen all of the movies that Arden watched with Mac throughout their relationship, but I don’t think it is a major disadvantage if you have not seen them because it’s entirely likely that once you have read the book you will want to seek out these classic films.

I loved the way the movies were the link between the present and the past, and the way in which seeing Mac again prompted Arden to think about the connection they had made thirty years ago, and how those actions, plus subsequent ones, had shaped the person she became. I loved the structure within the story, the way in which each movie was a map to a specific point in their relationship from the beginning of the affair, to its’ conclusion. Being a similar age, and being able to identify with the timeline of Arden’s past, from the music, to how she dressed, really resonated with me.

I enjoyed the additional characters in the storyline, the way in which Arden interacted with them, and the way in which they all helped her to reconnect with the world in their individual ways. This is a wonderful book that shows how our past shapes what comes in our future, and I found it charming and incredibly poignant. I did not anticipate reading the last few chapters of the book with tears streaming down my face. What can I say? I’m a crier! Anyway, tears aside, this beautiful story really touched my soul.

It is out now on ebook, and due to be published in paperback on 22 August 2019.

Emmie Rose

699 reviews10 followers

June 12, 2019

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
This book focuses on the life of Arden Hall. She’s recently divorced, doing a job she’s now finds boring and lives a very quiet life. One day while visiting a friend in hospital Arden stumbles across her former lover from thirty years ago when she was in university.
Mac Barley-Thomas was a charismatic Film Studies Lecturer who Arden found herself falling hopeless in love with but now he lays in a hospital bed suffering from a brain injury that has left him unable to converse. All he manages to mutter are small references from the movies they watched together during their affair.
Arden finds herself visiting Mac as much as she can and remembering the good times she spent with him and the hot and steamy affair the two participated in.
This book transitions from present day to the past with the help of the movie references that Mac managed to whisper to Arden and I found myself really liking this. It felt real. While to book relies heavily on movie references it isn’t too much of an issue if you haven’t seen the films. I had only seen a couple of them and felt that I could still understand the story.
If you’re looking for a light-hearted romance, then I don’t think this book is one you should pick up. This is a redemption story which at times felt long-winded and one you would need to put a chunk of time into.
There are a lot of up and downs in this book and whilst I am happy that it reflects a lot of taboo topics I felt like there were too many in this book and it made it slightly unrealistic in my eyes. Another thing I found myself struggling with was the affair. I was very much aware that this was a large part of the book unfortunately it made it hard for me to feel sorry for either of the characters in some parts. That’s a personal preference though and overall I still really enjoyed the book.
The characters were well written, and I found myself being sucked into this world, wanting to know how it ended which in turn made it hard for me to put it down. This is my first book of Fiona Collins and I after reading You, Me and the Movies I will be picking up some of her other books!

Hannah Clarke (Love Books Actually)

240 reviews1 follower

May 9, 2019

Wow! No other words but wow what a story! Firstly this is a completely different genre to Fiona’s other books but I must admit this is my most favourite book of Fiona’s to date. I love that this book took me by surprise, I wasn’t expecting to feel such emotion for the characters and the plot. Long story short this book is simply about two souls connected through their love of movies and proving that it never matters how much time can pass between people, simple references or quotes can bring memories back that was once forgotten.

The story jumps between the ‘then’ and the ‘now’, which Fiona managed perfectly; I never once was lost or felt I had missed anything. The book is written through the eyes of the main character Arden who living in London, separated from her partner with a grown up son and working as an assistant to the locations manager in the Production office of a long running police series called Coppers. During a hospital visit to a friend she comes across her first love Mac Bartley-Thomas who she hasn’t seen for thirty years, here we are transported back to Arden’s University days when she first meets film studies lecturer Mac and they embark on an all consuming romantic relationship.

Fast forward to the present and Mac, badly injured following an accident and no visitors coming by, Arden struggles to walk away so she begins to visit Mac in hospital. Mac’s injuries result in him being unable to communicate, however seeing Arden sparks Mac to reference quotes from classic films that they watched together during their relationship. Quotes that Arden thought had been buried deep down but brings all the emotions crashing back like it was yesterday.

Of course Pretty Woman is one of the classics featured! I will admit I haven’t seen any of the other films mentioned throughout the story which I know is shocking and I will be rectifying that situation soon however it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the book as Fiona gives detailed snippets from the films to understand why the quotes were chosen.

These film references are the link that brings the then and the now together within the story. On the whole Arden's memories are positive and happy but with them also comes painful reminders of an unhappy childhood and a strained relationship with her mother.

Mac being back in her life helps her to remember the Arden she used to be, helping her to reconnect with the world and opening new doors to opportunities she may have hid away from before now.

Overall an emotional read from start to finish, I couldn’t call where Arden’s story was going to take me but it really showed how people and situations can really make an effect and leave their mark on your life.

Sammy Daly

20 reviews6 followers

January 31, 2021

3.5 ⭐️

In 1988, film buff Arden has an affair with a Film Studies lecturer, Mac, at Warwick university, and they embark on an intense and emotional relationship that is largely based on their shared love of film. In present day, Arden is divorced and leading a rather unexciting life. She visits a friend in hospital and finds that Mac is in a hospital bed on the same ward after a tragic accident. Seeing him brings back all the memories of their relationship, but is it too late to rekindle what they had?

I think if you’re a fan of films in general you will probably like this book. I did film studies at uni AND I’m from Coventry where a lot of this is set so I’m thinking Fiona Collins basically wrote this book for me? 🤷🏼‍♀️ I loved the film references and the characters’ take on the films, the way they had discussions about feminism and gave their opinions on the storylines. That was probably my favourite thing about it and if the film references weren’t in there I don’t think I’d have liked the book as much.

I thought this was going to be a book about star crossed lovers who gets their ‘movie romance’ with added film references throughout, etc etc. However it was more about nostalgia and regret, and opening yourself up to new experiences and second chances, and it definitely took me by surprise with its depth.

The downside for me was that I didn’t really connect with either of the main characters, I found them to be quite self centred and unlikeable. I also found it difficult to get on board with their romance when they were clearly cheating. With a book like this, I want to be rooting for the main character but I really wasn’t. However I did really like the ending and it was a super quick and easy read.


1,470 reviews140 followers

April 11, 2019

You me and the Movies by Fiona Collins is the first book that I have read by the author.
The story is about Arden Hall who in her university days had an affair with a Film Studies lecturer. Thirty years later, she finds him in a hospital bed and the only words that he can say are quotes from the films that they used to watch together. The story than alternates between present day and the pass and describes relationship between them both. And the life Arden has now. Divorced and alone.
I really wanted to like this book after reading the burb, but I am afraid this wasn’t for me. I found it very slow. The references about films at first was interesting but found it a bit repetitive after a while. The main character I found very shallow and selfish. She didn’t care about anyone but herself. So because of the I did not finish it and stop reading at 40%.
Thank you NetGalley and Random House for a copy of this book.

Book-shelf Shelf

473 reviews35 followers

February 2, 2020

Mac, A Lecturer at Warwick University and Arden, a Student who loves movies and the key characters in this book. The story opens 20 years after Arden has finished uni when she is visiting a friend at hospital and spots Mac. From this moment on the reader is treated to the now and then story of thier affair. A memoir of films also features heavily in the story as Mac is a lecturer in the genre. Slowly, we learn about Arden's life since and during the affair, however we only learn a snippet from Mac's life since they left uni.
The story is a true love affair in more ways than one, the characters are people you want to learn about. The movies and clothes take you back to a time when movies didn’t disappoint. The book is about life, love and all the flaws in between, uplifting and emotional, but over all a most excellent book I would highly recommend

You, Me and the Movies (2024)


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