What is one to do when it rains in Florida? Run to the movies! Years from now Anne Hathaway and Jake Gyllenhaal will look back at “Love and Other Drugs” and know that they were at their personal peak; their incandescent beauty shimmers with a radiance matched by the quintessential film pairings: Gable/Leigh, Bogart/Becall,Bergman, Tracy/Hepburn, Burton/Taylor, Gere/Roberts.
The camera insatiably devours Hathaway; every frame gloats her flawless face, luminous smile, luscious long legs, tempestuous torso; her scintillating skill as an actor emanates from all this enchantment. Jake Gyllenhaal, smooth of face, reminiscent of idols of yesteryear: Cary Grant, Gregory Peck, Tyrone Power, is magnificent without a three day growth marring, masking his breathtaking countenance.
I was encouraged to see this film by a close friend who has suffered with saint-like dignity, a debilitating disease her entire adult life and her adoring husband, stalwart, strong her champion and companion. This courageous film tackles a topic rarely addressed in romantic venues. Unlike “Love Story” where a couple meet, fall in love, marry, then are confronted with the disaster of a lethal illness; Maggie (Hathaway) at 26 is suffering from early onset Parkinson’s disease; despite tremors, she is ravishing. She collides emotionally and sexually with Jamie Randall (Gyllenhaal) a charming, ambitious, self-absorbed pharmaceutical salesman. The movie takes place in the late 90’s with the miraculous discovery of Viagra, the elixir, magical potion for aging Lotharios (resulting in an epidemic of May/December relationships). Maggie and Jamie’s profound attraction is the crux and pivotal foundation for the success of the film; the fissures cracked, but not terminally.
The title “Love and Other Drugs” resonated and haunted me long after the screen brightened. Is “love” a drug? An unsuspecting virus that steals and clandestinely smothers the heart; the heart, hapless, defenseless with its onslaught. Does one have a choice? Or does the heart act alone without requesting permission from the mind? But unlike all other “drugs” there is no expiration date; no warning to call your doctor if the symptoms persist, no antibiotic, no cure. Maggie and Jamie stumble and fight to overcome the side effects but the strength of the addiction and the height of the hurdle to be vanquished is just one among a myriad or reasons to see “Love and Other Drugs”.