ORDINARY LOVE review by Patrick Hendrickson – Lesley Manville & Liam Neeson are a couple in crisis

ORDINARY LOVE review by Patrick Hendrickson – Lesley Manville & Liam Neeson are a couple in crisis

ORDINARY LOVE is a quiet and simple story about Tom (played by Liam Neeson) and Joan (played by Lesley Manville), a husband and wife who are faced with the latter’s diagnosis of cancer. The film begins with Joan finding a lump in her breast and follows the entire course of her treatment.

Neeson and Manville have some pretty wonderful chemistry as the couple, and that’s one of the critical elements of this entire production, considering that their relationship is the major crux of the story. Their wisecracks and playful bantering is a joy to listen to. Their bickering helps keep the slow pace of the film from being too unbearable, though only barely. A story like this does not need to move fast but it does need to progress at a faster pace than this movie offers. There are so many shots that are left lingering once the scene has passed, and there are plenty of pauses in the conversations. Proper pacing is important in any story and I would say that the pacing of ORDINARY LOVE is lacking. The runtime of the movie is only an hour and a half, and every single second can be felt passing.

There is a formula that is followed which goes something like this. Joan’s treatment will have some kind of development, such as her surgery or diagnosis. The couple will argue and bicker about what should be done. They will go through some simple errands such as grocery shopping. There will be a silent moment of various shots of the city they live in. Rinse and repeat. The story is a sympathetic one, but sadly the movie itself becomes dreadfully boring by about the 30-minute mark. The chemistry between Neeson and Manville is not enough to hold one’s interest. In point of fact, there is nothing about this production that is strong enough to hold one’s interest.

There are a few notable aspects of this production outside of the story and tone. The cinematography is fairly well-done with some rather interesting shots such as bird’s eye-view of Joan on the surgery table. The soundtrack similarly is pretty well-done, matching the dim mood of the story quite well. ORDINARY LOVE is a difficult movie to get through. This is in part because of the subject matter and in part because of how slow it is. A slow-paced movie is not a bad movie, but in this particular case there just is not enough that happens to justify sticking with this story, which earns it an overall grade of 2/5.

ORDINARY LOVE opens in Dallas on February 28, 2020

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