Home > Silver Screen > Love is the Drug They’re Thinking Of

Love is the Drug They’re Thinking Of

Okay, let’s get this out of the way first. Yes, there is a lot of sex in Love and Other Drugs. Yes, Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal get naked a lot. If you want to see the movie for those reasons, go ahead and rent it and loosen your pants because it definitely lives up to the hype. The movie is much more than a sum of the controversial sex scenes, though. In between the more carnal moments, Love and Other Drugs manages to be one of the best love stories ever filmed.

Normally, I would rather have a tooth pulled while listening to Rihanna than watch a romance movie. As a whole, movies in the genre are formulaic, boring, and they insult the intelligence of anyone who has actually ever been in love. This film, however, tells the tender story of an improbable romance that is touching, fresh and sexy.

When we first meet pharmaceutical sales rep Jamie (Gyllenhaal), he is a smarmy womanizer who is exactly the kind of creep we are used to Jake playing. He uses women and tosses them aside as if they are nothing, most notably by sleeping with a hospital receptionist in order to get access to the doctor so he can leave samples of Zoloft. So unless you’re a frat boy who is impressed with the number of women he’s able to bang, you hate the bastard.

Then Jamie meets Maggie (Hathaway), who he decides he wants to bed because he saw her getting an exam and noticed that she has a great rack. Eventually, she agrees to have a casual fling with him because she is confident that he is a “shithead” who has no humanity and thus, will never want to have a real relationship with her. Maggie has early onset Parkinson’s disease and is afraid to form a relationship with anyone, knowing they will leave when she gets worse.

To everyone’s surprise, Jamie turns out to have some “latent humanity.” He falls in love with Maggie, which is a first for him. She reluctantly agrees to be his girlfriend and things are good for a while, until Jamie meets the husband of a woman with stage-four Parkinson’s. When Jamie asks for advice, the man tells him to pack his bags and run away. He proceeds to tell Jamie in graphic detail how Maggie will deteriorate and says “as much as I love my wife, I wouldn’t do it again.” Jamie is shaken and for the first time is really scared about her condition.

Jamie begins to have doubts, which magnify Maggie’s insecurities and fears of her own condition. The resulting drama is heartbreaking, watching Jamie stick to the woman he loves, but wanting to leave because of what the future holds, while Maggie begins to suspect that he will be the latest to run away from her. In one tense scene, Maggie breaks down and tells him “sympathy fucking the sick girl doesn’t make you a good person.”

Their relationship takes many twists and turns, as most do, but somehow a dysfunctional relationship between a sick commitment-phobe and a selfish womanizer manages to be one of the most realistic and poignant portrayed on the big screen.  Because this is a romance movie, there is that scene where the guy has to chase down the leaving girl and convince her to take him back. That’s required of a romance. This movie has the greatest win-back scene ever, though. If you can watch it without your heart breaking, you have no soul.

And if nothing written above appeals to you, let me return to the reason you’re interested in checking out Love and Other Drugs. Yes, Anne Hathaway gets naked. A lot.

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