ORDINARY LOVE – Review by Sheila Roberts
An ordinary couple faces extraordinary challenges in Lisa Barros D’Sa and Glenn Leyburn’s moving drama, Ordinary Love. It’s an intimate, thoughtful portrait of a loving husband (Tom/Liam Neeson) and wife (Joan/Lesley Manville), who have been together for many years. They are confident and comfortable in their relationship, and know and understand each other very well. Their familiarity with one another is evident in the way one completes the other’s sentences. They have also faced terrible tragedy with the loss of their daughter.
When Joan is unexpectedly diagnosed with breast cancer, she is thrown a curve ball she never saw coming, and her happy life with Tom is put to the test. The emotional and spiritual journey they embark on sets them adrift in distinctly different ways, yet both do their best to rise to the occasion. Along the way, they meet other cancer patients on their own life-altering journeys and learn from their unique circumstances. They include a gay couple (David Wilmo, Amit Shah) who are facing a very poignant outcome.
This well-crafted, skillfully paced film is directed from a superb script by Owen McCafferty. Neeson and Manville enjoy convincing chemistry together. Their beautifully nuanced performances enhance the believability of the story and its characters. DP Piers McGrail uses Steadycam and long tracking shots to convey the couple’s often lonely and painful, sometimes joyous and humorous, but always meaningful journey as they navigate uncharted waters. This is a powerful, life affirming film about love, loss, survival, and respect for one another that everyone can relate to and appreciate.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Ordinary Love is AWFJ’s Movie of the Week for February 21, 2020