Love and Other Drugs is a 2010 romantic comedy set starring Jake Gyllenhaal as Jamie Randall, a drug representative for Pfizer. Set in the year 1992, Randall’s mission is to convince doctors to prescribe the antidepressant Zolfolt rather than Prozac, the drug which is currently dominating the prescription market. During one of his meetings, he runs into Maggie Murdock, portrayed by Anne Hathaway. Murdock is a 26-year-old with stage one Parkinson’s Disease. The movie follows the two as they start to form a relationship while Randall fights to dethrone Prozac as the most prescribed antidepressant. Throughout the film, Murdock struggles with her disorder. There are multiple points within the film where she has tremors.
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These tremors are shown to affect both her personal life and her career as a photographer. During her first introduction, Dr. Knight, played by Hank Azaria, states that she is on monotherapy, meaning that her treatment only relies on one drug, Sinemet CR, with some other drugs to help with other symptoms. On top of this, she takes antidepressants to deal with her emotional struggle of “having a major degenerative disorder at 26. ” Parkinson’s Disease, PD, is a disorder that involves the central nervous system. Specifically, it decreases the amount of dopamine being produced in the brain which affects one’s motor skills. In stage one of PD, tremors are the most visible symptom—and is considered fairly non-invasive—but as the disorder progresses, one will no longer be able to walk without assistance. PD also affects one’s speech patterns and speed of movement. While there is medication that can help ease the symptoms of PD, there has yet to be a cure discovered, and there is not a solid basis for what causes it.
This disorder typically affects individuals over the age of 50, and anyone younger would have an early-onset of PD. Love and Other Drugs is one of the only movies to portray Parkinson’s Disease, as most Hollywood movies like to focus on Amnesia and Schizophrenia. This makes this film particularly important to individuals with PD, who can see themselves reflected in Murdock. I believe this film does a good job portraying a woman with an early-onset of Parkinson’s based on current knowledge, showing the symptoms and emotions involved with being diagnosed at such a young age.
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