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Love and Other Drugs

23 Feb

Jamie Randall (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) is a born salesman. He can sell water in a flood and he’s good at it. He can always charm a customer (particularly the ladies) and can find the one thing that sparks their interest – and he’s good at turning that to his advantage. He’s never tried hard to do anything, not even in school, oh – he could’ve, but didn’t bother. Instead he’s chosen to push that potential back into the faces of his parents (by George Segall and Jill Clayburgh) and take his chances as an entrepreneur. Unfortunately, this plan is a little flawed – he’s recently been fired and after a few weeks searching, he takes up a job as a drugs rep for a well known pharmaceutical company. He’s mentored by one of the company’s best senior salesmen, Bruce Winston (by Oliver Platt), who teaches him all he needs to know. Once he understands “how things work in this game” he takes to it like a duck to water. His skills come back and he starts to build real success. To get to see the right peiple, he charms everyone he needs to and builds up a strong network of connections, particularly Dr Stan Knight (by Hank Azaria). One day, in a drug demonstration with Dr Knight, he meets a patient with Parkinson’s Disease, Maggie Murdock (by Anne Hathaway). She’s such a beautiful woman, but she has a massive chip on her shoulder and a hard-nosed attitude to her illness. She has been hurt before and has little patience for relationships. She won’t let anyone get close to her but Jake is totally smitten. They start a “no strings attached” affair, which suits Jake down to the ground – he’s never been one for commitment. But there’s something about Maggie … she’s tender and loving, but frustratingly distant and Jake finds he’s growing to love her. Maggie’s illness starts to take its toll on her and on their relationship, which presents challenges that neither expected to face in their lives …

This is a supposed romantic “comedy” … but it has a hard edge. Actually, the comedy is there, but that’s not the true essence of this. Romance? – yes, Jamie and Maggie are lovely together and there are some beautifully tender scenes. But the story raises some very significant issues, particularly about the role of drug companies in the choices medical staff make in their treatment regimes. Also, how a person faces a terminal illness and the impact that has on their relationships – Maggie is particularly brave and pragmatic during her illness, but she’s also totally dismissive of any emotions as it’s obviously too much for her to bear. The welcome comedy is provided mostly by the performance of Josh Gad as Jamie’s brother, Josh – he’s marvellous – he does a great job and it’s a nice piece of balancing entertainment. The interaction between the two brothers is very well done too. Jake Gyllenhaal’s character Jamie, is larger than life, but he’s also a tormented, difficult person. This movie goes to places you don’t expect so don’t underestimate its impact. It reunites Gyllenhaal and Hathaway after “Brokeback Mountain”, but this relationship is a more positive one than that was. It’s good to see veteran George Segal here too. Both Gyllenhaal and Hathaway were nominated for Golden Globe awards in 2010, for their comedy roles here and Anne Hathaway won a Satellite Award for her performance in 2010.

 Made in 2010. Directed by Edward Zwick.

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Posted by on February 23, 2014 in Movies

 

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