Love & Other Drugs (2010)

love and other drugs

IMDb

Sally
So I was browsing the Wikipedia and IMDb pages for Love & Other Drugs to jog my memory before writing this review, and was surprised at how much space is dedicated to the discussion of the nudity in this film. I don’t remember the nudity at all. Granted it’s been several weeks since we watched the movie, but I honestly have no memory of Anne Hathaway’s breasts or Jake Gyllenhaal’s butt. Of course, my college degree did require several life drawing classes (that’s where you draw nude models for two hours a day, twice a week for an entire semester), so naked bodies in movies rarely register for me.

One scene from this movie did stick with me, though. Maggie (Hathaway) has early onset Parkinson’s disease, and towards the end of the film she attends a support group/convention. While there, boyfriend Jamie (Gyllenhaal) asks the husband of another sufferer for any advice. The man simply tells him to run.

This was the most honest and realistic scene in the entire movie. I was shocked by the man’s statement, but it also rang uncomfortably true. Maggie and Jamie are young and haven’t been together long. If Jamie doesn’t think he can handle how bad things are going to get for Maggie, he needs to get out now. This may sound callous, but given that the risk of divorce increases when the wife develops a serious illness, why cause yourselves even more grief down the road?

I wish Love & Other Drugs focused on Maggie and Jamie’s relationship once the times really get tough, rather than how they met and fell in love. This is primarily a story about a young man growing up, maturing, and discovering what it is to love someone else. There are some glimpses of Maggie’s struggles with Parkinson’s and Jamie failing to cope with her illness, but we don’t really get to see the tough stuff. The story stops just short of that. Instead the ending is of the Hollywood variety– Jamie and Maggie breakup, but Jamie realizes he loves her and they reconcile, fully aware of the difficulties that lie ahead for them.

Love & Other Drugs isn’t a terrible movie, it just seems too afraid to show its attractive leads in unattractive circumstances. This film could have been more impactful by showing more of Maggie’s struggles with Parkinson’s and better developing Jamie’s inability to cope with her condition. The happy ending would have felt less forced and more meaningful. Instead of a real love story about sacrifice and commitment, this ends up being a rather shallow look at relationships.

Rating: C-


Ben
I am not even going to pretend with this film. I bought it for one reason only– you get to see Anne Hathaway’s hoo hahs. I have never even watched the film entirely until we did so for this blog. I found the scene where she gets her kit off and just watched that. Then I filed this film away never expecting to watch it again. Then someone had the bright idea to watch every film I own and write reviews about them.

This film is not terrible, but it isn’t that great either. It stars Jake Gyllenhaal as Jamie, a pill salesman for a medical company called Pfizer. One day while he is peddling his pills, he comes across a patient suffering from Parkinson’s disease named Maggie (Hathaway). The two hit it off right away and begin to date. Things get complicated for the pair when Maggie’s Parkinson’s disease begins to get worse and Jamie must ask himself if he is prepared to spend the rest of his life with a slowly deteriorating partner who has no hope of a healthy life.

I like Anne Hathaway a lot. I do not understand the hate for her at all, I always find her to be a lot of fun and a decent actress in all of her films. Away from the camera, she also seems to be a cool girl that has no qualms poking fun at herself and others. She is clearly not everyone’s cup of tea, but I like her a lot. I clearly like her enough to buy an entire movie of hers for a scene that lasts not much more than thirty seconds. In this role though, she seems so bitter about her lot in life, which is understandable. It was just such a departure from the effervescent personality I am used to seeing from her. There are glimpses of her in this film, but it is quickly replaced by someone feeling sorry for herself or taking her anger out on Gyllenhaal’s character.

Jake Gyllehaal is likable as the pill salesman Jamie. He does come across as a bit seedy, just like any salesman has to be to get ahead in that world. His chemistry with Hathaway is not great. You never get the feeling these two would be dating in real life. Their relationship feels forced and neither of them feel like they’re really into it. Their relationship is so important to the film that it really detracts from the overall finished product if you don’t believe the couple don’t really want to be together.

Outside of some lovely Anne Hathaway nudity, there is not much more to this film. The two leads don’t have great chemistry and it detracts from the film. The film itself is also quite depressing which I don’t care for when I go to the movie to be entertained.

Rating: C-

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