While the love story between Gyllenhaal and Hathaway is the main theme of the film, the secondary story is how Gyllenhaal’s character develops his career as a pharmaceutical rep. Being the charmer, he spends a great deal of time chasing the ladies. Ah yes, the period of time of the movie dates back a number of years when the drug Viagra was just hitting the market so our pharmaceutical lothario gets a number of laughs about the use of this drug. It is interesting to see the money driven bad side of the drug industry in the U.S. with reps shamelessly going after medical practitioners to prescribe their products to the public. What a curiosity to see Hathaway’s character organising bus trips to Canada for groups of senior citizens who cannot afford to buy drugs in their own country. Of course Hathaway who doesn’t seem to have a drug plan seems to be going herself to benefit from Canada’s cheaper drugs.
The telling moment of the entire film which emphasizes the serious nature of this love story and hence turns the film into a type of "Love Story" (1970’s classic love story where girl dies from leukemia) is when Hathaway visits a meeting of other Parkinson sufferers. It is here she meets for the first time others like her and realises she is not alone in facing her disease. Gyllenhaal has a significant encounter with a husband whose wife is in stage four of the disease and describes a frightening future with this debilitating sickness.
Of course, like any good romance, we have to have a break-up before we have the end of the film rediscovery and make-up. All’s well that ends well but I was still haunted by what the husband of the stage four woman said. Yes, love conquers all but there still is the practical side of living with a disease that continues unabated to progress.
In the final analysis, this isn’t the best film but it is better than a 45% rating would lead you to believe. It’s worth a rental or do a Rogers on Demand. I’m sure it will be available shortly even though it is still in theatres as of this writing. After all, it was only released on November 24 but I note that films do seem to making a faster turnaround to DVD and television, spending less time on the big screen. If for nothing else, it will be good to see these two actors. Gyllenhaal is a good looking man and Hathaway is a looking woman and the two of them are quite the charmers. I should add, in referencing another recent film The Tourist that this couple manage to better light up the screen with their romance than Depp and Jolie.
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Rotten Tomatoes: Love and Other Drugs: 45%
Wikipedia: Love and Other Drugs
official movie site
Wikipedia: Parkinson’s disease