You can find Jennifer Aniston just about anywhere these days (magazine covers) except on the big screen; a place where she’s been absent more often than not. Not knowing much of anything about this film, I went one afternoon and found it unusual, but somehow wonderfully refreshing.
Love Happens (2009) Film Review
Chapter one: if life hands you lemons, make lemonade.
Self-help author Burke Ryan (Aaron Eckhart) “believes” each of his philosophies. After the sudden and tragic death of his wife, Burke writes a book dealing with grief from a personal perspective by opening up to speculation. Much to his surprise and that of his manager’s, Lane (Dan Fogler), the book A-Okay becomes an instant best-seller. Before long, Burke is booking seminars and book signings. His latest stop is in Seattle, which brings personal feelings to light when he comes face to face with a person from his past. Also during his brief stop in Seattle, Burke meets free-spirited Eloise (Aniston), a florist who runs her own shop.
After a dinner date, which both find awkward, Burke pursues Eloise. There’s just something about her, and knowing his past and appreciating his honest, Eloise is curious, too.
Despite this perhaps surprising me in that it’s something totally different from most romance stories, this film is a special little movie. It begins as a sort of upbeat feel-good story into a kind of melancholy. Then finally a ray of optimism that leaves you altogether glad at the outcome. Unlike most movies of this genre, Love Happens isn’t a romance in the traditional sense. In fact there really isn’t a romance. Anything that develops between Burke and Eloise is more of a friendship. She pushes him to reality and in turn, helps him to rediscover life. The more time she spends with him, the more she becomes a listener rather than anything else. No matter if it’s a cliched scenario, it makes for a nice plot.‘LOVE HAPPENS’ (2009): A QUIET KIND OF FRIENDSHIP ROMANCE #Movies #JenniferAniston Click To Tweet
Counteracting the more serious topics is a hilarious little “birdnapping” sequence. Then there’s the meet-cute and a “word” theme (that allows for better “getting to know you”) that carries throughout the entire film. Another favorite scene involves Eloise taking Burke on their second date. It seems filmmakers enjoy surprising their audience with unusual pairs since Eckhart and Aniston are two actors, Inever would picture together. Somehow it works. Jennifer’s character doesn’t even have all that much screen time compared to Burke. You’ll grow to love Eloise’s little quirks. For the most part, I enjoy their scenes together and I think because of skillful writing, there’s a nice chemistry. The friendship has a sort of sweet, first crush aspect that is endearing to see unfold. Eloise’s assistant is also played by a hilarious Judy Geer.
A large portion of this film is centers around grief and it’s evidently clear, the suffering of the character is far from over, for a variety of reasons. As another reviewer says, this doesn’t credit God as the answer to overcoming grief, but it does paint a positive response to getting over it in a healthy way. Even if this didn’t live up to my expectations for various reasons, I do wind up liking it tremendously. It won’t be to everyone’s liking, in fact my mom didn’t much care for it, but it’s a lovely film that I look forward to seeing again.
You can find Love Happens digitally on Amazon Video; or at publication, Netflix.
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Content: A woman’s boyfriend cheats on her (not the first time); and someone tells a group she made a mold of her husband’s anatomy (this is a veiled reference). There’s also some “slam poetry” with sexual innuendo. There is some profanity including sh**, a**, b***h among others. God’s name is misused several times when Lane refers to himself (“Lane G** d*** Marshall”). Burke makes an obscene gesture with his hand. There’s a decent amount of social drinking. There’s flashbacks of an accident (nothing graphic). Mild implications may suggest that Burke thinks of suicide; he submerges himself in a pool. Burke lies to thousands.