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Love the Hard Way (2001)

The story of a petty thief who meets an innocent young woman and brings her into his world of crime while she teaches him the lessons of enjoying life and being loved.



(novel) (as Wang Shuo), (screenplay) | 1 more credit »

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4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
... Jack Grace
... Claire Harrison
... Charlie
... Jeff
... Det. Linda Fox
Liza Jessie Peterson ... Pam
... Sue
... Debbie
... Fitzgerald
... Boris
Michael G. Chin ... Asian Businessman #1
Ben Wang ... Asian Businessman #2
Huan Wang ... Asian Businessman #3
Ned Stresen-Reuter ... Brian
... Cara, Jack's Lover


The story of a petty thief who meets an innocent young woman and brings her into his world of crime while she teaches him the lessons of enjoying life and being loved.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Drama | Crime | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content, language and violence | See all certifications »





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Release Date:

27 March 2003 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Amar al límite  »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$10,721, 8 June 2003, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$43,571, 13 July 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?


Claire: So what do you like? Besides smoking?
Jack: What do I like? Boxer who can hook off the jab. Oysters, Rockafeller. Rugrats. Anything that gives me a kick.
Claire: And you make a living out of that?
Jack: Uh huh, Not bad. Some nights I go out with Charlie and I rip off forigen business men. You should turn me into the police, you'd be doing the world a favor.
Claire: Its too late. Someone already did. I'm an undercover agent for the RICO squad.
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References George Washington (2000) See more »


End of the Line
Performed by Scott Eversoll
Written by John Yingst (as J. Yingst) / Jan Peterson (as J. Peterson)
Courtesy of Marc Ferrari / MasterSource
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

In real life...
17 March 2005 | by See all my reviews

"Love the Hard Way" is nothing more than what the title explains. Of course, there's a whole story and a lot of events, situations, well written characters, very good performances...Peter Sehr has created his own world, and set it in real life. The movies I like the most are the ones that show real people. I always say that reality causes emotion. We don't want to see anything fake. Well, many people cry in movies because the plot is manipulated for them to do so, and they just cry. In movies that come close to reality, we cry because we know the things can happen or because we identify with them. It's not something we don't know.

Adrien Brody plays Jack, a thief. He wakes up every day, probably with a girl beside him in the bed, and wears the same jacket, just to go out for a walk, for a movie, or for a heist He has two friends (Charlie and Jeff), or colleagues, and knows two women (Sue and Debbie). The five of them created a plan, and periodically carry on with it, and succeed. These types of persons really exist. They are lost in their lives and are always looking for a way to find themselves again. Is amazing that Jack kind of hides a passion he has for writing. He "hides" inside a room he has, and starts to write about the things he deals with everyday.

When Jack meets Claire (Charlotte Ayanna) he doesn't know how to act. She's very intelligent, looks at him, and says: "You're trying to get some attention". He instantly leaves but they meet again in the University, where Jack and Charlie do some work. Claire has a boyfriend, Fitzgerald (Joey Kern), and a girlfriend, Pamela. The two girls are going to meet the boyfriend at a scientific presentation. This great scene, shows Jack and Charlie following them, and ruining things every time they try to impress the girls. They are a little ignorant (in another scene, when a detective asks Charlie what his work is, he says: "African American literature, until 1950"; he knows that doesn't exist, probably), however charming enough to arrange a meeting (I'm talking about Jack and Claire here) at a station. Jack goes there, he invited Claire, and doesn't know if she's going to come. I forgot to say, he has never met anyone like her. He's used to all these "one night stands", and never thought he would be meeting her, because she went to the meeting.

That same day they both have dinner and talk for a while. She's trapped by him, because she has never met anyone like him. She tries not to stare at him. He tells her, as they're going to his apartment: "You're in love with me". She answers: "No I'm not; I have a boyfriend". "You're not now", he replies. "But you will be". They both have sex that night, in a beautifully shot scene, with anticipations that seem to be coming from someone's mind. What happens next is part of their daily lives. It can be good, it can be bad; and that is the best about it. "I have a lot of personal experience". He explains that everything is like a box, and is always the same, so I know what I'll probably find in it". "And what about this box?", Claire says, referring to herself. "Do you already know what's inside or you want to open it and take a look?"

This movie is wonderfully directed, edited, and of course, written. You get involved in it, you want to see life. The score is amazing, and the team made an excellent work in finding every different song, with its style and lyric, just to explain each scene of the movie. Every frame is connected in every possible way.

We shouldn't forget the actors. They all do a good job. Some are important, some are just there; but they have to be.

I don't consider Adrien Brody a great actor. I think he knows how to choose a role, and that he chooses it because he wants to play it. That's good enough. Now I'm going to praise his performance in this film, and don't hate me for the things I'm about to say. He voices Jack with a humanity that makes him unique. He looks at people with a simplicity that makes Jack a real being. He walks with steps that define a performance. He won an Oscar, for "The Pianist", a movie I didn't find a masterpiece (as many say). Maybe it's because of the Holocaust, which has been used over and over for movies. Roman Polanski is a fine director, and in my opinion, he directed a fine movie. Going back to Brody, hate me now, but he probably deserved that award, although his performance in "The Pianist" isn't as good as his Jack in "Love the Hard Way". I just found all the elements, and the ones that make him shine; in this performance.

His manners and movements are part of the body language that wraps this wonderful portrayal. His character made me think about Mark Ruffalo's (an excellent actor) Coles, in the also real and compelling "XX/XY". The kind of character that doesn't know his feelings, because he doesn't feel anything at all. "I can't love anyone", Jack says to Claire, looking directly into her eyes.

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