Love the Hard Way

Adrien Brody, Charlotte Ayanna

Directed by Peter Sehr
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 1
Community: star rating
5 1 0
May 30, 2003

Call it the Oscar virus. A winner's next movie after taking home a golden boy is often a howling dog. Russell Crowe takes the Oscar prize for Gladiator and the booby prize for Proof of Life. Julia Roberts follows Erin Brockovich with The Mexican. Roberto Benigni trails Life Is Beautiful with — yikes! — Pinocchio.

Now it's Adrien Brody's turn to face the Oscar jinx. His new film, Love the Hard Way, was actually made before The Pianist, the Holocaust drama that won him the Academy Award at twenty-nine, making him the youngest Best Actor victor ever. Love, sadly, is easy to hate. It's a posturing, pandering tale of sexual obsession in thrall to its own overweening self-importance.

Brody, sporting a snakeskin jacket like the one the young Marlon Brando wore in The Fugitive Kind, plays Jack, a skirt-chasing New York hood running a small-time prostitution scam. Jack's smarmy charm is at first a turnoff to Claire (Charlotte Ayanna), a graduate student whose wit impresses him. Their unlikely affair quickly bores Jack, but Claire can't get enough, even debasing herself for this snake. As directed and co-written by Peter Sehr, Jack is an impossible role. Yet Brody makes it work through the vitality and finesse of his acting. He has excelled before The Pianist: in Spike Lee's Summer of Sam, Barry Levinson's Liberty Heights and Terrence Malick's The Thin Red Line. But to shine in a turd like this shows Brody has the stuff that — damn the Oscar jinx — makes an actor last.

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Long Walk Home”

    Bruce Springsteen | 2007

    When the subject of this mournful song returns home, he hardly recognizes his town. Springsteen told Rolling Stone the alienation the man feels is a metaphor for life in a politically altered post-9/11 America. “Who would have ever thought we’d live in a country without habeas corpus?” he said. “That’s Orwellian. That’s what political hysteria is about and how effective it is. I felt it in myself. You get frightened for your family, for your home. And you realize how countries can move way off course, very far from democratic ideals.”

    More Song Stories entries »