Ordinary Love

Liam Neeson and Lesley Manville play a long-married couple coping with a cancer diagnosis in this subtle, empathetic character study written by playwright Owen McCafferty.

Both retired, Joan and Tom live a life of comforting routines and habit, having finally come to terms with the death of their daughter many years before. This day-to-day existence is troubled, however, by the sudden news that Joan has breast cancer. Everything ordinary is turned on its head as the pair must navigate new eruptions of anger and fear, hospital bureaucracy and interminable waiting rooms.

Viewers more used to watching Leeson in an action-film context should take pleasure in watching him in a more thoughtful, dramatic role; his relationship with Lesley Manville’s character feels intimate, lived-in and warm. She, meanwhile, is the film’s true beating heart, giving a sensitive nuanced performance that gives the lie to the idea that there is any such thing as an ordinary love.