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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Explores "sickness and health" part of marital vows, the support and love needed to make it through illness, the way that profound grief and loss can change the nature of a relationship, how being with an encouraging and loving partner can get you through even the darkest situations. Themes include compassion, empathy, perseverance.
Positive Role Models
Tom and Joan have different personalities, and they're not perfect, but they also have a solid, honest marriage full of love. They can bicker, even argue, but remain devoted, loyal to each other. Joan is thoughtful, kind to fellow patients as she deals with cancer. Tom takes care of Joan throughout her treatment.
Violence & Scariness
Discussions of an adult child's death. A fish dies, and Tom flushes it down the toilet. A friend dies from cancer. Sadness/stress.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Tom and Joan hold hands, hug, kiss. In one scene, they make love in their bed; it's brief, not graphic. They discuss whether Tom will miss Joan's breasts after her mastectomy. Brief nonsexual nudity while Joan undergoes scans/testing.
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Infrequent: "s--t," "bloody," "idiot," "stupid," "arse."
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Products & Purchases
Tom and Joan drive a Volvo, which is visible in several scenes.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Tom drinks beer on a few occasions. They buy beer at the market and have wine for dinner. Adults smoke cigarettes.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ordinary Love is a drama about a long-married couple, Joan and Tom (Lesley Manville and Liam Neeson), as they deal with the frightening reality of Joan's breast cancer diagnosis. It slowly becomes clear that cancer isn't the first tragedy to strike their family. Tom and Joan kiss, and there's one quick, nongraphic sex scene, as well as brief nonsexual nudity while Joan is undergoing tests and treatment. Language includes the occasional "bloody" and "s--t," and there are a few scenes of Tom and Joan drinking wine with dinner or Tom drinking beer. Some conversations (and arguments) center around potentially upsetting aspects of Tom and Joan's past and the lingering grief they feel over it. Joan is shown suffering from the side effects of her treatment (including nausea, vomiting, and exhaustion). A friend who's also in treatment doesn't survive, and there are conversations about mortality between Tom, Joan, their friend, and his partner. The movie shows the support and love needed to make it through an illness and how being with a loving partner can get you through even the darkest situations. Themes include compassion, empathy, and perseverance. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Manville and Neeson's superb central performances elevate this quiet, intimate portrayal of a couple trying to survive the second devastating tragedy of their marriage. Directors Lisa Barros D'Sa and Glenn Leyburn, working from a script by Owen McCafferty, manage to create a love story around cancer that isn't melodramatic. The acting is beautifully nuanced and evocative, with the smallest of smirks and quirks expressing so much that goes on between long-married couples. Manville and Neeson are on equal footing as performers, bringing out the best in each other. After years of Neeson playing archetypal angry fathers in revenge thrillers, it's refreshing to see him as a husband who's utterly devoted to his strong, capable wife. And Manville, who's legitimately wonderful in everything, is luminous here as a woman facing the possibility of her own death.
Wilmot is a great supporting player -- his Peter is a kind, gentle man who knows his days are limited but wants to make sure his love, Steve (Amit Shah), can move on with his life. Aside from those two men and a few other doctors, fellow patients, and caregivers, there isn't much of a cast in Ordinary Love. This movie is all about Joan and Tom, and luckily Manville and Neeson are fine enough actors to carry the duo's domestic drama through an entire season in this couple's life. The movie reminds viewers that while cancer (or any chronic illness) affects an individual in a profoundly singular, even lonely, way, it also completely changes the life and scope of that person's partners and loved ones.
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.