Liam Neeson and Lesley Manville both win us over.
At the “Ordinary Love” screening I attended, Liam Neeson jokingly mentioned how he was promised to punch a villain in the face, given the fact that he’s also an action star. Just note that he’s also been given low-key and/or dramatic performances in his career like “Schindler’s List” and “Silence.” His next entry in his filmography, “Ordinary Love,” is no exception.
It’s not just him we must single out; it’s his co-star Lesley Manville who shares a powerful connection with the actor, and their characters are winning. They portray Tom and Joan, a happily married couple, who try to move on from losing their daughter to a tragic accident, and find themselves with another tragedy.
Joan is developing breast cancer, and undergoes treatment to cure her disease. The operations are successful, but they still have to see more doctors, because of the possible tiny cancer cells developing. I know this doesn’t make sense, because Tom knows it doesn’t make sense.
The moods and tones set here show us their opinions, emotions, and levity. In the early stages, Tom is more positive about this than Joan is; in middle, they argue and nearly destroy themselves in the process; and continuing, they manage to a find way through their turmoil.
“Ordinary Love” is a sad and open-minded movie that also wants to convey Breast Cancer Awareness, and how it brings out the best and worst in people. Writer Owen McCafferty (a playwright from Northern Ireland) and directors Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn all develop the two main characters with real emotions and heart. Neeson and Manville both struggle to overcome their problems, and they win us over in the end.
There’s also a small subplot that should have been given more depth, but still gives truth and balance to Joan’s cancerous side. It involves their deceased daughter’s teacher (David Wilmot), who is more terminally ill than she is. And he is also a homosexual with a boyfriend (Amit Shah), who is afraid to lose him. The movie is also sensitive about this segment, and we respect that notion.
Not to mention the tears that commence within the sadness. In one scene, for example, Tom has a pet fish, whom he takes very care of, but dies. He doesn’t know if he overfed it or not, but when he weeps, we believe he is truly sad about his small loss.
And another scene is when he and Joan argue about who is in more pain. You can easily tell the dialogue and tension is pure and sincere, just by studying Neeson and Manville’s emotions and reactions.
The movie isn’t about curing the disease; it’s about how it affects the main characters, and how they struggle to overcome the odds. And if you really look at them, based on their attitudes and emotions, you can tell they’re not letting the disease win.
“Ordinary Love” loves these people, and earns our love in the end.