Love Happens



Dramedy about grief and love likely won't interest kids.
  • Review Date: September 15, 2009
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 109 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The main messages seem to be about moving past grief toward acceptance. This is an important take away not only for those who are grieving but to anyone who has experienced disappointment.

Positive role models

Burke functions as a positive role model by motivating others to help themselves heal. Although he doesn't help himself until the end of the movie, he has a selfless need to propel his grieving clients to move forward with their lives. Eloise has a fiery personality. She owns her own business, which she says was a dream come true, and she tries to help Burke.


Conversations about how loved ones died in accidents and of sickness.


Although there's only one big kiss in the movie, the dialogue contains sexual innuendo and several references to dating and relationships, with comments like "did you get laid?" and "either head of yours" etc. Eloise also discusses her ex-boyfriend's infidelity, and a widow talks about how she made a mold of her husband's "you know" so that they could "you know" even after he died. At a poetry slam, people recite poems about "phalluses" and sex.


Fairly regular use of words like "s--t," "ass," "hell," "damn," and "bitch," as well as "stupid," "pissed off," "oh my God," etc. One character always says his name as "Lane 'Goddamn' Marshall."


Apple products are on display in a few scenes -- Macbook, desktop computer, and iPod -- as well as Grey Goose vodka, which is Burke's signature drink.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Burke drinks (vodka, mostly) regularly, especially before his seminar talks. Adult characters drink in bars and restaurants and in one scene smoke from a hookah pipe at a Middle Eastern bar.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this romantic dramedy centers on the topic of grief (and moving past it). There are plenty of tearful references to how characters' loved ones died, so teens dealing with loss or other separation-related issues may find the movie upsetting. While nothing more than kissing is shown, there are several conversations about relationships, as well as allusions to sex and "getting laid." The protagonist
drinks regularly, and several scenes take place in a bar where adults
are drinking (and, in one case, smoking from a hookah pipe). Language includes "s--t," "ass," and "pissed off."

What's the story?

Widower Burke Bryan (Aaron Eckhart) is a best-selling author who runs self-help seminars for the bereaved. At a conference in Seattle -- the city he shared with his deceased wife -- he distracts himself from painful memories by flirting with hotel florist Eloise (Jennifer Aniston). As Burke juggles his duties to his mourning attendees, his need to impress executives from a media corporation that wants to market him as the next Dr. Phil, and his growing attraction to Eloise, it becomes clear that he hasn't yet finished grieving his own loss.

Is it any good?


It's hard to believe that a dashing man like Eckhart and a stunning woman like Aniston could have absolutely no chemistry, but there's no accounting for that enigmatic X-factor in cinema. To say that the leads' utter lack of spark seriously hampers LOVE HAPPENS is an understatement -- but, then again, the movie isn't really a romantic comedy. Frankly, it's unclear what genre the movie belongs in, as it's simultaneously an occasionally humorous look at grief therapy, a chronicle of the hypocritical individuals who become celebrity "healers," and a thoroughly boring examination of the start of a rebound relationship.

Despite feeling overly long and dramatically uneven, Love Happens does feature a couple of stand-out supporting performances. Judy Greer adds another notch to her "quirky best friend" belt as Eloise's slam-poet employee, and Dan Fogler brings the laughs as Burke's manager. Martin Sheen is affecting as Burke's angry former father-in-law, although the movie doesn't really deserve an actor of his magnitude. Most frustrating of all is a wordless cameo from two Battlestar Galactica actors (only BSG fans will recognize them) who pop up in an extended sequence for no real reason. It's only worth mentioning because if their on-screen presence was supposed to be funny ... it wasn't. The puzzling cameo is slightly pleasant but ultimately confusing and insignificant -- just like the film itself.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the movie's message about moving forward past grief and disappointment. How do the various characters come to terms with their anger and heartache?

  • Although Bryce pretends to alcohol, he secretly consumes it. How is drinking depicted in the movie?

  • What genre does this movie belong to? Is it a romantic comedy, a black

  • comedy, a drama? How is it different than most romantic comedies?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:September 18, 2009
DVD release date:February 2, 2010
Cast:Aaron Eckhart, Dan Fogler, Jennifer Aniston
Director:Brandon Camp
Studio:Universal Pictures
Run time:109 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:some language including sexual references

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 11 years old March 1, 2013


I totally loved it<3
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Adult Written bychangster.eminem February 6, 2010

Important Movie For Those Who Understand

I loved this movie. See for me, I felt many connections. The movie has many moral lessons. Very important movie if you experienced things that were not so great and possibly led to your suffering.
Parent of a 11 year old Written byMoviegranny October 23, 2010
I am a fifty-two-year old woman and to me this movie was just okay. Some movies just don't seem to have any reason for being made and in my opinionnthis one was one of them. What exactly was the point? I thought the film treated a serious subject in a fairly shallow and cliched way. But the acting was solid and the story was a lot better than most movies I've seen lately which isn't saying much. That said, my 30-year-old son really liked it.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Great messages


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