Love Happens; A Review
More Than Just A Love Story
Love Happens is inappropriately titled. This is not a simple love story. This is a story of pain, fear, reaching out and affirmation of loss. In fact, the love story between Aniston and Eckhart's characters in the movie is the icing but not the cake.
It begins with Eckhart, playing a "can do" kind of guy. He suffered a terrible loss in his life and wrote a book about how to recover from loss and accept life's changes; as we learn to rebuild ourselves and the world around us by throwing the fears that hold us down and facing the challenges that we encounter after losing someone we dearly love.
This film had me and many people in the audience crying throughout as we watched, recognized and sympathized with the people in Eckhart's "recovery" group. Their stories were compelling and realistic. I choked up quite a few times as I was mentally plummeted back in time, recalling the feelings of loss that I didn't understand and didn't want to accept, as I listened to the actors so eloquently play their parts on screen.
Martin Sheen, having a short but powerful role in the film; brings forth a true, raw emotion that makes the end of the movie appear to move closer to closure. However, the emotion shared between Eckhart and Sheen truly deserves applause, for it is through this particular acting moment that the movie viewer can also feel a part of their own deep set wounds begin to form the tiniest scab that will eventually induce healing.
I went to this movie expecting a "chick flick pick me up" type of film. I left feeling as if old sores had been reopened and waves of sadness mixed with melancholy memories rushed over me. One of the men attending this "sadness and loss" workshop held by Eckhart's character particularly portrayed a deep seated loss. His son, tragically died and his life came to an end. Unwillingly attending the conference, he questions the conventional wisdom of this "A OK" guy and he delivers a realistic and unique performance of a grieving man. Eckhart's character, even though he is minute by minute; reliving his demonic ghosts of sorrow, decides to personally help this man make the first step. The entire group accompanies him to a store in hopes that he will "re-discover" himself in the process. The entire scene is very touching and anyone who has experienced a devastating loss in their life will instantly relate to and want to embrace this man. Exceptional acting by John Caroll Lynch.
Many critics are giving this movie poor reviews. Perhaps they expected a romantic comedy. If they were, then I can understand their disappointment. I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that this movie turned out to be more of a drama.
Eckhart plays his role very well and Jennifer Aniston's role is somewhat of a shadow of Eckhart's throughout the movie. She is the background. The necessity for the show to bring the pieces together. The freshness and the element of surprise. She isn't however the true reason for Eckhart's character coming to grips with his tormented past. She is the antecedent that becomes the pleasant consequence as a result of Eckhart's evolving behaviors.
I encourage readers to view this film. Not in looking for a love story between a man and a woman....but as a love story for oneself. A way to see how people cope with pain and inner turmoil. This film has enough quirky phrases in it to fuel your thoughts into how you can move past your fear of being left behind and look at the possibilities that lie ahead of you.
Another note...the music throughout the film is inspiring as well.
Out of 5 stars I would give Love Happens 4 stars. I hope you leave the theater feeling as I did. Changed.