The plot line of this film may be fodder for women's channels: passionate relationship between two very beautiful people thwarted by a woman's incurable illness. She wants to be noble by letting him go, but still can't help whining about her dismal fate. He wants to be a good man and stay with the woman he loves, but also wants to escape the fate of tending to an eventually deteriorated body. Very melodramatic, very sexy, very heart wrenching.
But due to the superior acting skills of stars Anne Hathaway as disease victim and Jake Gylllenhaal as drug salesman and a sensitive yet not over schmaltzy script, there's not so much tear jerking as compassion elicited from the viewer. And then there's the bodies. These two should be bronzed for posterity. At the top of their physical form and with lots of nude scenes to show them off, even your football fan boyfriend will enjoy this film, even if the lessons to be learned in the story escape him.
Plus, besides the relationship storyline, there's the pharmaceutical business exposé that captures one's interest. Drugs are hawked to doctors by top predators who can earn hundreds of thousands of dollars a year by delivering the right pitch and the right payoffs. Doctors can't help but be swayed by the relentless barrage of attention. Some even make a list of demands, anywhere from free lunch to exotic vacations to women for sex just to listen to a pitch for a drug or to accept some free samples. Doctors are even aware that prescribing some drug is not always the best course of treatment for a patient, but writing prescriptions for a tranquilizer or antibiotic will satisfy a patient, knowing he or she has received something concrete, a pill that has been advertised endlessly in TV commercials -- so much more satisfying than the old adage, 'Drink plenty of fluids, rest and call me in the morning.' This also substantially increases the doctor's bottom line. So, patients beware. Is the doctor helping you or appeasing you while accepting expensive gifts for prescribing certain drugs? 'Love and Other Drugs' takes place around the time Viagra was introduced to the market. The monetary boon to doctors getting a whole new demographic into their offices and Pfizer and its employees raking in profits was astounding. Pfizer can't be happy about this film and it's depiction of how this and other drug companies market. I really appreciate that the film used actual drugs' and drug companies' names. So, enjoy the romance and take heed of the factors that influence medical care. Do you really need that antibiotic, tranquillizer or sleeping aid?
Love and Other Drugs
Director: Edward Zwick
Writer: Edward Zwick, Charles Randolph, Marshall Hersokwitz from the book 'Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman' by Jamie Reidy
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Oliver Platt, Hank Azaria, Judy Greer, Josh Gad, Gabriel Macht, George Segal, Jill Clayburgh
Opening November 24