LOVE THE HARD WAY is about a sleazy and selfish con man (effortlessly played by award-winning actor Adrian Brody) who is attracted to a “good girl” straight-A’s college student. Jack (Brody) is initially honest with Claire (Charlotte Ayanna) about his shady life, but she is nonetheless attracted to him and his criminal ways. Lust doubles for love in their relationship, and, not surprisingly, it is soon on the rocks. Jack seems to care for her, but sleeps with other women to communicate that the relationship’s ended. Claire, reeling from the pain he has inflicted, gets involved with Jack’s criminal schemes and resorts to prostituting herself. She intentionally has “unprotected” sex with multiple men to carry out her own private death wish. On the verge of getting back together, Jack is busted and sent to prison, so Claire attempts suicide rather than live without him.
Made before his Academy Award-winning role in THE PIANIST, it appears LOVE THE HARD WAY is being released to bank on Brody’s recent success. This movie purports to be about love, but it is about lust. It wants to show romantic notions of redemption, but instead focuses on the characters’ personal descents into a hellish existence. The characters, lured by their own self-destructive impulses, rapidly implode and destroy anything of value in their lives. Using the “Two Years Later” black screen toward the end, the story even fails to honestly show the stark and painful consequences of their self-centered decisions. The audience is asked to forget the past as the characters plan to merely write a new ending. Or perhaps, the story wants us to believe that the pain of the past has matured these new characters, and they are finally ready to settle down. Either way, it is a trite and unrealistic ending for this ruin-to-greater-ruin drama.
Despite all the warnings and foreshadowing, the audience fully expects the story’s outcome. Claire wildly abandons her college success for a life of crime. Jack insists on shortcuts to wealth instead of living a “dull” and honest life. LOVE THE HARD WAY shows life the hard way. Love is not represented here. True love is sacrificial and esteems one another. Yet these characters are led by their emotions and lusts, spitefully hate each other, and choose death over life. Not once do they do anything to show love for the other, yet both claim to be in love.
LOVE THE HARD WAY is not love at all. As the fast-lane life is portrayed here, this story is the expressway to pain and suffering.
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SUMMARY: LOVE THE HARD WAY is about Jack, a sleazy and selfish con man who is attracted to Claire, a “good girl” college student, but Claire is nonetheless attracted to him and his criminal ways. LOVE THE HARD WAY is a godless look at lust, told with extreme foul language, sexual content, and nudity.
(HH, RoRo, Fe, LLL, VV, SSS, NNN, A, DD, MMM) Humanist worldview where romantic notions collide with a seedy con man; includes more than 100 obscenities (mostly “f” words), five profanities and one blasphemy; violence includes fighting, death threats, stabbings, and bloody suicide attempt; sexual themes include erotic dancing, women in underwear, prostitutes soliciting men, male and female nudity, many explicit sex scenes, many “one night stands,” and woman becomes a hooker to spite her boyfriend; excessive, graphic nudity; drinking; smoking plus implied other drug abuse; and, much miscellaneous immorality, including stealing, lying, confidence schemes, shakedowns, and comments such as “you can’t save his soul,” and “Hell’s more fun anyway.”