Friday, November 1, 2019

Movie Review: "Ordinary Love" (2019)

Director: Lisa Barros D'Sa and Glenn Leyburn
Year: 2019
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 32 minutes

Middle-aged married couple Tom and Joan face a challenging time in life when Joan is diagnosed with breast cancer.

Tom (Liam Neeson) and Joan (Lesley Manville) eat breakfast together in a movie scene from Ordinary Love (2020)
"I know that 3 is closer to 5, and I know that I've got breast cancer." (Image Source)
Long-term relationships often face troubling times, and as we grow older, we learn that these hardships are just a normal part of love. "Ordinary Love" is directed by Lisa Barros D'Sa and Glenn Leyburn. The two have worked alongside one another before and have made the films "Good Vibrations" and "Cherrybomb." It is written by playwright and first-time screenwriter Owen McCafferty. Joan (Lesley Manville) and Tom (Liam Neeson) have been married for many years. They do what many married couples do as they get older: they have dinner together, watch TV together, and try and stay healthy together, taking daily walks down the same street where they turn around at the exact same tree day in and day out. They have faced a couple of hard times and personal tragedies throughout the years, but they try to enjoy their life together as much as they can, however monotonous it might be. After feeling a lump in her breast, Joan and Tom are about to face a new obstacle when she gets diagnosed with breast cancer.
Lesley Manville Ordinary Love movie gif where she says "what's gonna happen if I've got cancer?"
(Image Source)
When we found out that Owen McCafferty got his start writing plays, it made sense to us because "Ordinary Love" could easily be performed on the stage. The majority of the film is a two-person show (Lesley Manville and Liam Neeson) that is set in an intimate environment. It couldn't be performed by just anyone, though. It would have to star two actors who could form a solid bond that goes beyond simple relationship pleasantries. We say this knowing that the terrific, convincing chemistry between Lesley Manville and Liam Neeson makes this project work as well as it does. The love between the two of them feels authentic, lived-in, and familiar. They feel like people we know. Even during the hard times, we never once doubt their love for one another. It helps that they have an excellent screenplay with realistic dialogue and situations to work with. It wouldn't be as impactful or effective without our investment in them as a lovingly married couple. Manville and Neeson play off of one another brilliantly, especially in the darkest and lightest moments of the film. They quibble and make jokes with one another, they hug and make love to one another, and they often disagree about how Joan should approach her treatment, but through it all, they have one another to rely on, even when they are mad or sad as hell. There are also two small but crucial supporting performances from David Wilmot and Amit Shah that give the film some of its most tender and tragic sequences. Speaking of sad, the biggest worry we have when watching movies dealing with "the big C" is that they will be unbearably depressing and dismal, especially given our unfortunate personal experiences with the foul disease. "Ordinary Love" does have some profound melancholy in its narrative, but the overall takeaway from this story is that it is a poignant, touching portrayal of one woman's journey that will leave you with a little bit of hope. Ultimately, this isn't a movie about cancer, it's a story about love and how facing life's most challenging trials is possible with your loved one by your side.
Liam Neeson and Lesley Manville get the news that she has breast cancer in the 2019 drama "Ordinary Love" (2019)
"I just can't tell her how frightened I am." (Image Source)
We thoroughly enjoyed the genuine, cathartic, intimate "Ordinary Love." In a more just world, Lesley Manville would be up for some serious awards consideration for her portrayal here. This film comes out in February 2020 here in the States, so we highly suggest you see it when it is released.

My Rating: 7.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 7.5/10
IMDB's Rating: ~7.3/10
RT Rating: ~100%
Do we recommend this movie: Yes!

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