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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
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.
Violence & Scariness
Conversations about how loved ones died in accidents and of sickness.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
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.
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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."
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Products & Purchases
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.
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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." To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.