Updated the post to include some photos of Jake from the CMJ screening of L&OD on Thursday, 10/2. It looks like wax figure Jake at first, but he was real!
There was a screening of Love & OTher Drugs in New York last night, and film blogger Jeffrey Wells has supplied us with some Q&A photos and video of Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway. Wells also loved the film, particularly Jake's performance.
[it] is first and foremost a hit. It's charming and affecting and likable in a "good Eloi" sort of way, or in the way that cultivated mainstream audiences tend to go for. It's sharp and polished and beautifully shot and acted and cut, and it just grooves right along with sass and wit and ultra-frank sexuality and generous nudity and undercurrents that are Jerry Maguire-ish at times.
It's a very tight and assured romantic dramedy (or "emotional comedy," as post-screening moderator Elvis Mitchell put it tonight) that delivers an intensely sexual, emotional hair-trigger relationship story about two avoider-dodgers (played with wonderful verve and assurance by Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway, both delivering the most appealing performances of their careers). It wades into emotional truths and touches bottom and knows exactly what it's doing and how to massage every note and bridge and stanza.
I'd been told that Hathaway's performance is the killer, and it is, I suppose, because you can read every emotional tick and tremor on her face, and because your heart goes out to any character coping with a debilitating disease (stage-one Parkinson's) and who wants to keep herself aloof and in control. But Gyllenhaal gives his most winning performance ever -- not the deepest or darkest or saddest, perhaps, but 100% likable with no audience-alienation issues except for emotional avoidance. They're quite a pair, these two. All you want is to see them keep it together and somehow make it work.
Love and Other Drugs isn't a deep-well soul film, but it plays its own game in a sharp and likable way, and sometimes quite movingly. It's tight and fast and precisely honed and well acted up and down, and for these and other attributes it could easily qualify as one of the ten Best Picture contenders.
The core of the romance is Jake's overcoming his shallow relationship history, and Anne overcoming her emotionally aloof thing. And both Hathaway and Gyllenhaal make their characters come vividly alive. It's a pleasure to get to know them and share the time. I'm looking forward to catching this at least a couple more times.
New still from L&OD. Looking good:
(Thanks to Jeffrey Wells/Hollywood Elsewhere.)