Ordinary Love

At the Movies Blog
Liam Neeson shows his softer side.

Liam Neeson shows his softer side.

We all know Liam Neeson has a special set of skills and…if you mess with his wife or daughter…he’s coming for ya. So it’s a nice pleasant surprise to see that he doesn’t have the skills, or sometimes even the appropriate thing to say, when his wife (Leslie Manville) discovers a lump in her breast.

Screenwriter Owen McCafferty wrote this semi-autobiographical piece with a lovely, understated sensibility. It’s perhaps a cliched narrative, but a joy to watch every step of this breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Now, we all know someone (or are related to someone), who has fought breast cancer. My friend Hannah Martine, in her early 30s, just lost her battle with it. Yet watching a loving couple, beginning to unravel from dealing with this horrible disease, is interesting. Even in quieter parts of the film where not much is happening (and there are plenty of those moments), the small details of how things unfold hold your interest. It was intriguing to see how other cancer patients of various ages talk, or bond, while in the hospital sitting next to each other.

Neeson and Manville have great chemistry, and this two-hander is carried by their strong performances. Now, I found the movie 50/50 (Seth Rogen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt) a lot more entertaining, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room in the world for a subtle picture like this.

Since it was filmed in Ireland, there are a few times the accents were hard to understand. 

It was adorable the way Neeson called her “kid” and it was so sweet how the movie ended. It all made me think about how Neeson said five years ago that he wasn’t going to keep doing “Taken” type of films, yet he still does. It would be nice if he showed his softer side more, as he did with this film. It’s not the type of picture that Key & Peele will be raving over, but movie adults can go to without getting a headache from various things blowing up.

Catch it at the Angelika Film Center when it opens this weekend. You’ll be glad you did.

3 stars out of 5.

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