© Twentieth Century Fox of Germany GmbH

Nebenwirkiung Inklusive (Love and Other Drugs)
U.S.A. 2010

Opening 13 Jan 2011

Directed by: Edward Zwick
Writing credits: Charles Randolph, Edward Zwick, Marshall Herskovitz, Jamie Reidy
Principal actors: Jake Gyllenhaal, Anne Hathaway, Oliver Platt, Hank Azaria, Josh Gad

On the surface, the film is about a guy that falls for a girl stricken with a degenerative disease at an unusually early age. However, the underlying story depicts a reverse character role from what is typically portrayed in films and television. The female character holds virtually all control and power in this dating saga while the male is the one left puzzled, wondering, and hoping for more. Sound familiar, ladies? Finally, a modern day twist on which sex controls the power through each step of the relationship, and we see how the girl plays her cards and does it well.

We see the storyline begin with Jake Gyllenhaal's Jamie looking to use a doctor’s current patient as an “In” to getting his pharmaceutical samples through the door. His charming good looks and quick bantering ability would normally come in handy with this strategy, but Anne Hathaway's Maggie easily sees through his tactic. She blocks his game plan with such ease and refinement, Jamie is almost unsure of how to proceed. Not only is this girl not the typical tramping pushover, she was a triple threat with beauty, brains and the mental brawn – the wherewithal to keep the other sex at a distance. He is drawn in by the challenge, and we watch as Jamie’s intent on staying emotionally unattached quickly falls flat for the strong-minded Maggie. We don’t just see the standard, one-time reverse role scene with the “leave the money on the dresser” scenario. We’re given multiple situations with Maggie dictating the rules of play eliminating the nagging phone calls, meeting of the parents, relationship labeling, and above all, unadulterated free sex. When she calls him, he blissfully drops everything. At one point, the film even depicts Jamie’s unexpected heart palpitations and vocalization of his love for her, yet she does not return the words. Quite the common issue for many ladies, right?

Much like what a man classically puts a woman through both physically and mentally, this film’s heroine throws it right back at the male with all the right moves and more. SHE is the one with all the power and SHE is the one with the upper hand. It’s a multi-layered story laced with a few minor underlying viewpoints, but the most alluring account is simply that of a woman who is seemingly self sufficient and invincible in every way. It took the persistence and love of a man to show her that an impending and incurable disease is not her “Achilles Heel”, but is in fact her need to love someone and be loved. It is a weakness every one of us has. (Jennifer Martine)

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