Familiar Fare: Our Review of ‘Ordinary Love’

Posted in Movies, Theatrical by - February 21, 2020
Familiar Fare: Our Review of ‘Ordinary Love’

An intimate, quiet, yet universal story unfolds in the sweet and sad Ordinary Love, a small film following a woman’s breast cancer diagnosis and treatment with her husband by her side. Led by Lesley Manville and Liam Neeson, this soft and gentle tale takes place in the U.K. and features a couple who have long been married and been through joy and sorrow together. Still, it’ll be hard for most viewers not to relate in some capacity.

There is no melodrama, no exaggeration, and no wide swings in volume or tension or chaos in Ordinary Love; everything is tempered, offering much needed solemnity and reality to the matter. There are quiet car rides, casual conversations, and a lot of moments of self reflection. Neeson and Manville are great in their roles, her showing vulnerability and determination, and him offering helplessness and frustration, all without saying a word.

It’s worthwhile acknowledging the special and sometimes rare nature about making a sincere, tender film that knows it’s often better to let things play out naturally then try to punch up the drama. It’s a deft director and talented actors that make Joan and Tom instantly relatable and connected, not only to each other but us as well. At the same time, nothing is drawn out. We take part in this journey, and it moves forward, and it doesn’t pour on the sadness or revel in joy.

Ordinary Love presents small problems and the little chaos that you may not necessarily think of, adding much needed layers to stories of illness that can become too similar and redundant. The cancer is an obstacle, not a character; it’s always about Joan and Tom – where their relationship is and how they are trying to overcome the obstacles in their way. It’s touching and loving, even in sadness.

That’s where the filmmakers trust the viewer and make it clear they are telling a story that’s personal and important. Depending on your relation to the subject matter, you may feel more strongly, but there is enough there in this short, sweet film that it will pull at your heartstrings.

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