I was immensely surprised by this film, for several reasons. One: based on what I had read and heard, I was anticipating fast-fowarding a good chunk of the film due to strong sexual content and nudity. Two: I thought the trailer (per usual in Hollywoodland) gave away 90% + of the film. Three: I thought it would be a typical, materialistic, rom-drama. Four: I thought romance would be severely lacking (seriously, what was the last truly romantic film you saw?).
I was wrong on all four counts! One: while there ARE several sex scenes, they definitely didn’t take up a huge chunk of the film (I would, however, LOVE for someone to explain to me why it was apparently necessary for me to see Anne Hathaway topless so much. Was I supposed to be inspired to get a boob job so I can look as good as she does? I don’t get it…).
Two: the trailer succeeds in concealing a huge plot point: Anne’s character, while only 26, is suffering from early on-set Parkinson’s. I LOVE watching a movie and being surprised!
Three: while there’s nothing necessarily new about this film, it didn’t feel like a typical rom-drama to me. And four, the way Jake’s character sees firsthand what full-blown Parkinson’s looks like, and talks to a man who has been a life-long caretaker for his wife (and the man tells him he wouldn’t do it over again :0( so sad), he still pursues Anne’s character. Hello, romantic!
I also, surprise surprise, felt like I learned a lot from watching this film. I’ve known for years what Parkinson’s is: the body gradually loses control of its muscles, causing them to shake/spasm uncontrollably. It’s a degenerative disease, and there’s no cure. In one of Katherine Hepburn’s last movies (The Man Upstairs, which I highly recommend!) her Parkinson’s had set in pretty well, and since I saw that film at a young age, I’ve always known what a person with Parkinson’s looks like.
What I didn’t know, however, is what life with Parkinson’s looks like on a daily basis. I felt like this film gave an adequate portrayal of the horrible frustration that doesn’t go away. For example, Anne’s character used to be a visual artist, but by the time we meet her, she’s no longer able to hold a brush. Some days the meds help her function, some days she’s stuck in bed barely able to move.
This film left me with a better understanding of what life with Parkinson’s looks like, and a deeper compassion for those who suffer from it. I’m also now praying for a cure!! :0)
P.S. I’m not recommending that you run out and buy this DVD (I only gave it 2 stars), and I’m not saying it’s a great or even good film. It just surprised me in many ways and, as I said, I felt like I learned something from it.