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LOVE HAPPENS, 2009
Movie Review

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LOVE HAPPENS MOVIE POSTER
LOVE HAPPENS, 2009
Movie Reviews

Directed by Brandon Camp
Stars: Jennifer Aniston, Aaron Eckhart
Review by Matthew Toffolo



SYNOPSIS:

On a business trip to Seattle, a popular self-help guru (Eckhart) sparks with a woman (Aniston) who attends one of his seminars. Their connection causes his to realize, however, that he hasn't truly confronted his wife's recent passing.

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REVIEW:

Curious about the title of LOVE HAPPENS. If you see the movie, ask yourself why this is the title of the movie? It really doesn't make any sense because this is a film about a man learning to deal with a loss of a loved one. So shouldn't the film be called Love is painful when that someone you love dies?

Love Happens never really happens unfortunately. I think this is a great seed of an idea on how a man learns to help all the people in the world who is dealing with what he's dealing with except the one main person: himself. He's a best selling self help novelist and motivational speaker on the art of dealing with loss, but in all that time he has written and talked about this subject, he's never learned how to take his own advice and get over the pain he's been in for 3 years.

This idea is the same concept of the HBO show IN TREATMENT where we follow a therapist everyday as he deals with his various patients. He's a very good therapist and really helps his patients out a lot but he never really masters the concept of helping himself out. He can give out the very intelligent and meaningful advice to anyone who sits across from him in his therapist's office as he's brilliant in the art of empathy and understanding what these people need. But he's not able to talk to himself on the couch he does so much healing. It's like he thinks his advice only works for everyone except himself.

So Love Happens is about that idea. Motivational speaker Burke (played by the very good actor in Aaron Eckhart) is a better looking Dr. Phil. His charm takes him far. But of course he's buried emotionally in his own fears and regrets. He's a good man who is the only one that doesn't see himself as a good man.

So good idea that's universal and carries a lot of weight emotionally for an audience, but Love Happens really only has that storyline attached to it. This is really a short film pushed to a 2 hour feature film length. Burke's anxieties and inner conflicts is the only thing going in this movie. And all of the other characters introduced are there to serve Burke's storyline. No other character really has anything to do except to help Burke out. And a feature film needs something more than that. >

Burke's plot is also the theme of Love Happens. In a feature film the theme is the thing that hangs over the entire movie while at least more than one character and plot development happens. But Love Happens only gives us one note. Going to watch this film is like going to see an orchestra play but they only play the string section while the brass section sits there holding their instruments with nothing else to do. They only gave us half a movie and the other side of the coin in Love Happens was right in front of them.

Jennifer Aniston plays Eloise. The woman who ends up taking to Burke. She's been damaged before but you can see that she's a fighter and really much stronger emotionally than Burke. Which is ironic since Burke is the one who speaks about emotions to thousands of people. Her way of giving to the world is flowers and you can tell she's very good at her job because she loves her job. Burke you never really get what his true passion is. All he knows is that he's charming and he uses that strength of his to do his motivational job. Eloise is really the one who should be writing the books.

But the problem is that we never really get to know Eloise. She is the true savior/hero character in this film. But in the male dominated Hollywood, they only kept their eyes on Burke. What's strange is that if you truly get and understand the art of storytelling, you know the more you understand one character who connects with the main character, the more you understand the main character. So why did the creative makers of Love Happens give us no actual storyline of Eloise?

Love Happens was half of a good film. But half doesn't count and it's really a failing grade. Too bad. Come on Hollywood. Start giving storylines to the woman who deserve it. And the character Eloise deserved a lot more screen time and development than being there for Burke to cry on her shoulder.

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