Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Powerful and Underrated
Chick flicks are one thing. They are unbelievably predictable, they all follow the same format, there’s usually a lot of unrealistic things that happen; furthermore, there is a lot of unrealistic expectations women often get after watching these films. There’s more than one reason men typically hate them, because it paints a certain picture of the male personality, and how it should be versus how it really is. Basically, all men should be like Captain Dreamy over here. News flash, everyone’s different, and there’s no such thing as perfection…people have baggage. The older you get, the more baggage you’ll have to come to accept, that’s life. Love Happens is not your typical chick flick, and in fact, I don’t even call it that. I call it something I could believe is actually possible.
Aaron Eckhart stars in this film as Burke, a self-help guru that specializes in coping with the loss of loved ones. His book – “A-Okay” became instantly famous, which got him to this career in the first place, but there’s only one problem. The problem is that who preaches salvation from pain is suffering himself. He drinks in his hotel bedroom and stares blankly out the window, remembering his own pain, the death of his wife. When he meets Elois (Jennifer Aniston), his interest is peaked, and he starts to remember how it is to live again, but not because of his feelings for her – THAT is where most people will start sighing in disgust.
First of all, what separates this film from a chick flick is the very fact that it centers its focus on the man’s side of things instead of the women’s. Secondly, this wasn’t about romance, it was about coping. Romance is in there, yes, but not by much. His attraction to Eloise allowed him to unlock a part of himself that blocked off his own ability to cope. He opened up to her, and by doing that, she was able to be the self-help guru that he needed her to be, to finally move forward after what he went through.
His “favoritism” you could call it, for Walter (John Carroll Lynch) is significant to the story, and some people might miss out on why. You see, Burke clearly sees himself in Walter, and subconsciously, wants to fix Walter, which would somehow fix himself. It doesn’t exactly get into it that deeply, but it’s there. Everyone in his session has experienced loss in some way, but Walter’s emotional and detached state clearly set a familiar chord in Burke’s mind. By the way, John Carroll Lynch did a phenomenal job as Walter, phenomenal, I say. Same goes for Martin Sheen, man oh man.
By the end of the movie, you’ll get a very powerful scene that might actually bring you to tears. This is my second time watching this film, and I must say…this was the second time it nearly brought me to that point to, and I don’t cry. It’s just a powerful scene. Even though you might see it coming, or have already seen the movie, and know exactly how it ends, Eckhart does an extraordinary job at portraying what he needs to portray in the way he needs to portray it. It was brilliant. I’m not really sure why critics don’t like this movie…it’s not incredibly predictable, it’s not even really a romance.
I can see how easily it can be mistaken for a romance, and more importantly, I can see the message getting misconstrued. You can easily see the message as “all you need is love”. As if love itself can cure all problems, and bam, Burke the depressed widower is healed. That’s not it at all though, as I’ve said above, it was about finding someone that Burke could trust enough to help him in the way he’s helped countless others. That’s it. The performances were great all around. I love each of the characters. I saw this when it first came out, and still had a good idea of how everything went in the movie…which means at least to me…it’s memorable.
If you have seen this and misunderstood the message in the way that I described above, I think you should really consider rewatching this, and look for the clues I mentioned above. It’s a movie about coping. Yes, romance is in there, but not by much. Rewatch it, folks. Peace!