Ordinary Love

The plot synopsis comes early in Ordinary Love, as worried wife Joan (Lesley Manville) asks her husband Tom (Liam Neeson) what they would do if the lump in her breast was found to be cancerous. “We would do whatever has to be done to cure it,” Tom responds. That’s exactly what’s happening for the next 85 minutes. Joan and Tom have already made it through the death of a child, and the struggling couple become sweetly inspirational while the film plays out as a medical procedural. Manville and Neeson are so charming in their banality that the required moments of high drama even feel kind of forced. Instead, the truly important chords are struck by the characters illustrating the importance of being there to watch out for each other. There aren’t any friends around except for a renewed acquaintance with a dying teacher who once had their daughter in his classroom. Of course, it helps that Tom and Joan live in Belfast. Preachy plot points about medical costs don’t take over the movie. You still shouldn’t take that as an endorsement of Ireland’s healthcare system. Joan would’ve been a goner if she had cervical cancer.