Love And Other Drugs, aka one of the most hated movies of the year. But unlike the overall opinion regarding this movie, I actually loved it!
Love And Other Drugs stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Jamie, an ADD son of a doctor, who doesn’t want to follow in his dad’s footsteps, so he gets a job as a pharmaceutical sales rep for Pfizer, the company that later on brought the world Viagra. While trying to sell his company’s drug, he meets Maggie, the character portrayed by Anne Hathaway. Maggie has an early onset of Parkinson’s and this where the story starts.
The movie is very life-like. It’s about commerce (trying to sell drug to doctors who can be bought by gifts and schmoozing), ambition and ultimately love. Aren’t those things what life is all about? You have ambition to basically set a name for yourself. This ambition will lead you to make good money, fall in love and raise a family. This is where the life-like approach comes from.
Each one of the main characters of this movie has their own journey. Jamie’s path is to grow out of the careless womanizer that he is into a man. And Maggie’s growth revolves around trust in people, to let go of her own secure but fragile little world and let go. Jake Gyllenhaal is heartfelt, engaging in his portrayal of Jamie. He draws you in and makes the character very likable. But the true star here is Anne Hathaway.
Anne Hathaway has very much grown since her The Princess Diaries days. And if the first hour of movie, which is basically sex, is not convincing enough, she blows you away (no pun intended) with the emotions she gets across in the second half. It’s not hard (again no pun intended) to like her in any movie that she does, be it the drug addict in Rachel Getting Married or as the sick woman in this one. Her embodiment of a Parkinson’s patient is very good. The tremors she makes, the way she lives the disease… it is all done with the right touch of credibility. And this is coming from a person who has lived firsthand with someone with Parkinson’s. The struggle to get the drugs, the disappointment when she discovers she forgot to refill her prescription… you live the movie and the character through Maggie’s eyes, predicting what she’ll do next: will she open up to Jamie or will she remain secluded? Will she let herself truly live or will she just keep in going by? It’s a multi-layered character, delivered brilliantly. And I’m not ashamed to say I prefer this performance over Annette Bening’s performance in The Kids Are All Right.
There’s one particular scene involving a vodka bottle that is very haunting. You can’t but feel sorry for her character at that point.
Some say that the nudity is unnecessary, especially with the amount it is in this movie. I disagree. The sex scenes in this movie are the vehicle by which these two characters communicate and get to know each other. Relationships usually start the other way around. This is not the case here. Instead of having their minds do the talking, their bodies do.
Moreover, you feel at times that the plot can be taken to an extra level. Sometimes, it feels as if the script could have used an extra draft to make this movie into one that could have actually been a very strong contender at this year’s award season. Some scenes are dispensable and very Hollywood-like cliche, in a movie that is not very cliche. An extra revision would have probably tied those scenes up and delivered a truly great movie.
To finish this up, I prefer Love And Other Drugs over all the other movies in the Motion Picture – Comedy nomination at the Golden Globes. It’s not for all tastes. But I loved it.