My first thought right now, while writing about Love the Hard Way, was: is there any other way? It sounds so bitter, and another thought that came to mind was that yes, of course there is. But sometimes we take the easiest road of self annulment, obsession, fear.
And fear is the word here. Jack has not an unusual fear of life and love, and the way he behaves when in love for the first time is not a rare feature too. There's no redemptive features in him... No, that's not true, there are a few (and one in particular), but they don't prevent him to act as a heartless SOB. He freaks out, and by hiding away for fear, he succeeds in doing so much worse than the would do if the had just stared the monster in the eye. It sounds very moralistic, I know. But it is not, I promise. It is one of the things I have been realizing from a time now. It could sounds also obvious, but it is one of the most difficult features in life.
One thing about love is that self destruction always finds a fit partner in crime. As a friend would say, the old slipper always finds a sick feet. This way, pain is so much easier. But it is not actually. And that's what this movie brings to us in a heartfelt and horrifying manner. It is not palatable, and I've read many comments that mirror this feeling. But it is admirable that a movie doesn't go for the easy path of love getting everything right. I truly believe it does, but in the humane fashion of choosing pain over happiness at most of the times, there will be a long way before love will be able to work its magic. For some, this never ever arrives.
Adrian Brody is incredible here (I truly love his nose, by the way, one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen at the movies), as is Charlotte Ayana as the beautiful, naive, obsessed Claire. The supportive cast is great too. They make this movie believable and bearable, even in the most difficult part - it is dreadful, I wasn't too thrilled to see it happens, as I was already expecting a big downfall. It this movie was a book, I would have gone to the last page in order to see if everything would be alright at the end. I usually do that, I cannot stand some kinds of heartbreak, I'm sad to admit. I thought about doing that during the movie, but I said no to myself. Hang in there, was my main thought. I did, and I ended up with mixed feelings, as was to be expected from such a film.
And I liked it after all? I don't know. Like and dislike are not fit for this film. But I'm think it maybe worth a try, if your heart is not over sensitive and if you allow movies to be a lot figurative about some aspects in life. I am, and I'm still digesting what I saw on this day.
An afterthought: I felt like this movie could be a french production, it surely has some of the French movie's features. And still a bit confused about my mixed feelings at the whole film, I did something unusual and looked for a specialized critic - of course I would recur to Roger Ebert for that. I'm not a fan of this kind of critic, not even once delivered by Ebert. I usually get exhausted by its unnecessary details, and this one is no different. But the french feeling is referred by him, and it helped me to deal with my confusion a little bit: http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/love-the-hard-way-2003
|Love the Hard Way. Directed by Peter Sehr. With: Adrien Brody, Charlotte|
Ayanna, John Seda. Writers: Peter Sehr et al. Germany/USA, 2001, 104 min.,
Dolby Digital, Color (Netflix).
PS: When I arrived at my mom's, she looked at me sheepishly and asked me if we could see the last Downton Abbey episode one more time. Of course we can, I said. And more tears met my way, like it was the first time I was dealing with it :)
PPS: Awards day is a festive occasion at my home. Some nice comfort food (more healthy this time), a good drink (beer!!!), my beloved sofa and some mindless fun for hours with the Golden Globes. I have to confess that I was a bit disconnected this time - I even missed Wagner Moura's moment at the Globes (He is incredible), and had to rewind the recording after the show. I don't know why my mind was elsewhere, maybe it was today's movie. Because the show had so many good moments (even if the dreadful ones were truly terrible - we can blame a retrograde Mercury for the awful speeches and presentations). But Gael García Bernal, Sylvester Stallone, Denzel Washington, Brie Larson, Matt Damon, The Martian, Aaron Sorkin (Welcome home!), Maura Tierney being rewarded was great. Taraji P. Henson was rude as I've never seen a winner being before (and Katherine Heigl correcting how her named was pronounced was not an easy rudeness to surpass). Rick Gervais is unbearable, I think. But I'll be here next years, for sure, with the same expectations and happy to the beginning of the awards season, as always (my most silly trait, I admit).