What would a Kat Dennings movie be without a soundtrack that acts as an additional character (see: Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist)? With a drug-heavy theme, music is key to bringing the story of To Write Love on Her Arms to life. The pop punk/dance-heavy soundtrack, featuring songs you can't get out of your head, like "Billy the Kid" by Flint Eastwood and "Lose Your Soul" by Dead Man's Bones, is part of what allows you into the mind of Renee Yohe (Dennings).
Based on the real life organization of the same name, the film was inspired by Yohe's struggle to enter rehab after dealing with non-stop addiction and depression for two years before seeking help from the friends she had left behind for her drug habit. One of those friends, Jamie Tworkowski (Chad Michael Murray), who she meets after coming out of the woodwork, is the person who felt compelled to start the website, twloha.com (then in MySpace form), detailing the travails of Yohe as she fought the temptation to relapse before getting clean enough to enter rehab (which sounds ironical, yes).
Yohe's first experience with drugs came one Halloween night at a rave, where she was allured by a boy (a wolf in sheep's clothing) to stay longer and let her friends leave without her. We later learn that her once ironclad belief in fairy tales, which she quickly lost as a little girl, is further shattered by being taken advantage of when the boy takes her home.
By the time Yohe hits nineteen years old, her penchant for self-mutilation and predilection for manic depression has reached a crescendo--all as a result of this night that crushed her psyche and emotional wherewithal into oblivion. Her love of cocaine, ecstasy, heroin and everything in between, however, isn't enough to block out the lack of any real love in her life.
David McKenna (Rupert Friend), the musician/producer who ends up becoming her sponsor, is part of Yohe's first step in the direction toward recovery. Because McKenna himself suffered through addiction, Yohe is able to look to him as a source of comfort and inspiration. She keeps track of the days she's remained sober by writing "Day 1" and so forth in lipstick on the mirror of her bedroom. Incidentally, the film was originally titled Day One until it was changed for re-release after premiering in 2012, and now, is once again being distributed in theaters and online under the To Write Love On Her Arms moniker.
While teetering ever so slightly on cheesiness at the end of the second act, To Write Love On Her Arms accomplishes that rare feat: not making a movie about addiction come across as overly maudlin. And so, there is a new contender for film most likely to be shown in health class or D.A.R.E.