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"LOVE HAPPENS"
(2009) (Aaron Eckhart, Jennifer Aniston) (PG-13)

Alcohol/
Drugs
Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Frightening/
Tense Scenes
Guns/
Weapons
Moderate Mild Heavy Mild Minor
Imitative
Behavior
Jump
Scenes
Music
(Scary/Tense)
Music
(Inappropriate)
Profanity
Moderate None Minor None Moderate
Sex/
Nudity
Smoking Tense Family
Scenes
Topics To
Talk About
Violence
Heavy Minor Extreme Heavy Mild


QUICK TAKE:
Drama: Upon meeting a florist shop owner, a successful grief counselor and motivational speaker reluctantly realizes he must apply his recovery techniques to himself to deal with his wife's death from three years earlier.
PLOT:
Burke Ryan (AARON ECKHART) is a widower of three years who accidentally parlayed his grief into a successful career as a grief counselor and motivational speaker. In fact, he's so good at what he does, his manager, Lane Marshall (DAN FOGLER), is on the verge of landing a potentially lucrative business deal to market Burke's work and brand.

Yet, Burke isn't happy that meeting or his next seminar will take place in Seattle. After all, that's where he and his wife once lived, and he's had no contact with her parents, including her ex-Marine dad Silver (MARTIN SHEEN), since a car accident took her life. Even so, Burke is committed to helping his clients, such as Walter (JOHN CARROLL LYNCH), a former contractor whose 12-year-old son died in a past accident.

Knowing that Burke is solely focused on his work, Lane encourages him to get out there and live. Taking that advice to heart, Burke decides to approach Eloise Chandler (JENNIFER ANISTON) who runs a florist shop with her lone employee, Marty (JUDY GREER), and delivers arrangements to the hotel where Burke's A-Okay seminar is being held.

As they get to awkwardly know each other, Eloise eventually realizes that while Burke is successful at helping others, he's never fully helped himself. From that point on, she tries to convince him to take some of his own medicine and advice so that he can finally move on with his life.

WILL KIDS WANT TO SEE IT?
Unless they're fans of romantic dramas and/or someone in the cast, it doesn't seem too likely many will be interested.
WHY THE MPAA RATED IT: PG-13
For some language including sexual references.
CAST AS ROLE MODELS:
  • AARON ECKHART plays a successful grief counselor and motivational speaker who's semi-famous from his seminars where he helps others deal with their grief. Like them, he lost someone close to him (his wife), but despite his success with others, he's unable to apply the same treatment to himself, thus leaving him conflicted and not fully healed. He uses some profanity, drinks, and briefly smokes from a hookah.
  • JENNIFER ANISTON plays a florist shop owner who initially wants nothing to do with Burke, but eventually warms up to him, although she's frustrated by his inability to see that he needs to take some of his own dealing-with-grief medicine and advice.
  • DAN FOGLER plays Burke's manager and/or publicist who's working hard to help him earn as much money as possible from his work and brand. He uses profanity and drinks some.
  • JUDY GREER plays Eloise's lone employee who wants her to date Burke. She also participates in performing sexually related poetry readings.
  • JOHN CARROLL LYNCH plays a man at Burke's seminar who's still grieving over and feeling guilty about the accidental death of his 12-year-old son sometime in the past.
  • MARTIN SHEEN plays Burke's former father-in-law who isn't happy that Burke simply disappeared after his wife's death.
  • CAST, CREW, & TECHNICAL INFO

    HOW OTHERS RATED THIS MOVIE


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.


    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).


    OUR WORD TO PARENTS:
    Here's a brief summary of the content found in this drama that's been rated PG-13. Profanity consists of 1 partially mouthed "f" word and 4 "s" words, while other expletives and colorful phrases are also uttered. Sexually related dialogue is also present. while there's a brief and extremely long-distance view of a naked person getting out of a hot tub (nothing explicit).

    Several flashback scenes briefly and/or partially show a car accident that took a woman's life in the past (no blood). A man burns his feet (resulting in briefly seen burns and blisters) after standing on hot coals, while other behavior might be enticing for kids to imitate.

    Bad attitudes are present, as is a great deal of tense family material and related thematic elements regarding grief and guilt over the deaths of loved ones. Characters drink in various scenes, while there's brief smoking.

    If you're still concerned about the film and its appropriateness for yourself or anyone else in your home who may be interested in seeing it, we suggest that you take a closer look at our detailed listings for more specific information regarding the film's content.

    For those prone to visually induced motion sickness, there are varying amounts of camera movement at various times in the film.


    ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE
  • As Burke quotes from his book about making lemonade when life hands you lemons, we see a bottle of vodka next to that.
  • Burke has a drink in his hotel room.
  • A photographer tells Burke the latter needs a drink, but he says no, adding that alcohol is no better for dealing with issues than a Band-Aid is for a bullet wound.
  • Burke has a drink in his hotel room.
  • We see liquor bottles in a bar where Lane orders a drink. Burke then joins him and ends up finishing Lane's drink before going off to ask Eloise on a date.
  • Eloise's boyfriend lies about who had wine with him the night before (she sees lipstick on the glass and thus knows he's lying).
  • Eloise collects a few empty beer bottles in her mom's place.
  • Marty orders drinks for her friends in a poetry bar, and we later see her, Eloise, Burke, Lane and others drinking.
  • Lane has a drink as do others.
  • BLOOD/GORE
  • A widow happily tells Burke that she took her husband's ashes and baked them into some cookie that she carries around in a tin (and shows to Burke).
  • A man exits a public bathroom stall without washing his hands.
  • Burke and others walk across hot coals as a demonstration of overcoming fear. When Walter is reluctant, Burke goes out onto the coals and just stands there, trying to convince him. That fails, and Burke has bad burns and blisters on his feet afterwards.
  • About his late wife's parrot, Burke states that the bird is loud and "sh*ts" all over the place.
  • DISRESPECTFUL/BAD ATTITUDE
  • Eloise pretends to be deaf (using sign language) to avoid Burke when he seems interested in her.
  • Eloise's boyfriend lies about who had wine with him the night before (she sees lipstick on the glass and thus knows he's lying).
  • Upset that she faked being deaf to avoid talking to him, Burke asks if she prefers sign language and then gives her "the finger" before walking off.
  • When a bartender politely asks if she can get anything for him or Burke, Lane angrily snaps, "Get out of here" (for interrupting their conversation).
  • Burke enters Silver's home (without his knowledge) to retrieve his late wife's parrot and then set it free as she previously desired.
  • Conflicted by his grief, Burke ends up being mean to Eloise when she tries to help him.
  • Thinking an executive has changed his mind about a business arrangement (he hasn't) after a confession by Burke, Lane confronts the man and states that if he has, "You can take your deal and shove it up your ass."
  • FRIGHTENING SCENES
  • There are several brief/partial flashback views to the car accident that took the life of Burke's wife. See "Violence" for more details.
  • GUNS/WEAPONS
  • Burke tells a story of a successful college football coach who committed suicide with a shotgun stemming from the earlier loss of his brother to a heart attack.
  • A photographer tells Burke the latter needs a drink, but he says no, adding that alcohol is no better for dealing with issues than a Band-Aid is for a bullet wound.
  • We see a sword mounted above the front door of Silver's home (a Marine thing).
  • IMITATIVE BEHAVIOR
  • Phrases: "What the f*ck?" (partially mouthed by Lane), "He's loud and sh*ts all over the place" (said about a parrot), "Business sh*t," "I threw all my bullsh*t in your face," "The balls on him," "You and your phallus may rule the world, but this Amazon bitch will cut you down to size," "I'm Lane G*ddamn Marshall," "A-Okay," "I don't give a rat's ass," "Pissed off," "I look like hell," "Strut back to your bitchin' rig," "Kick-ass," "You're playing prince of Persia," "What the hell's going on with you?" "Shut up," "Where the hell have you been?" "What the hell happened to you?" "I screwed it up" and "You can take your deal and shove it up your ass."
  • As part of his seminar, Burke takes his group out into the middle of the road, stopping traffic, all to prove an observational point.
  • Eloise pretends to be deaf (using sign language) to avoid Burke when he seems interested in her.
  • Upset that she faked being deaf to avoid talking to him, Burke asks if she prefers sign language and then gives her "the finger" before walking off.
  • Eloise follows Burke into the men's room to confront him.
  • Burke and others walk across hot coals as a demonstration of overcoming fear.
  • Eloise has a habit of writing obscure words behind paintings in the hotel, prompting Burke to search for the latest, including standing on furniture to do so. When a boy catches him doing the latter, Burke promptly spins around and lands in a seated position as if nothing is happening.
  • We see people sticking chewing gum on a wall that's previously been covered with a great deal of the same from others.
  • JUMP SCENES
  • None.
  • MUSIC (SCARY/TENSE)
  • A tiny bit of suspenseful music plays in one scene.
  • MUSIC (INAPPROPRIATE)
  • None.
  • PROFANITY
  • At least 1 partial "f" word (mouthed), 4 "s" words, 1 slang term for sex ("laid"), 6 damns, 6 hells, 4 asses, 1 S.O.B., 4 uses each of "G-damn" and "Oh my God," 3 of "Jesus," 2 of "God" and 1 use each of "My God," "Oh God" and "Oh Lord."
  • SEX/NUDITY
  • As part of his seminar, Burke takes his group up to the top of a building where they just so happen to spot a "naked hot-tubber" off in the distance at another building. It's possible there's a fleeting image of miniscule, far-off nudity, but all we saw was a towel being wrapped around and the person then walking off.
  • About potentially landing him a lucrative business deal, Lane jokingly asks Burke if he (Burke) is as hot for him as he is for himself.
  • Eloise's boyfriend lies about who had wine with him the night before (she sees lipstick on the glass and thus knows he's lying).
  • About Silver confronting Burke, Lane states, "The balls on him."
  • Marty practices some of her spoken poetry on an older client, including a line about "Maybe you're afraid of my battery-operated sex."
  • When Eloise finally admits to Marty that her boyfriend was with a groupie, Marty asks, "Again?"
  • Talking about how he imagines Eloise is tired of people only seeing her for her physical attributes, Burke says she probably got approached a lot since she first strapped on a training bra.
  • Thinking Burke's just hitting on her for sex, Eloise makes a sarcastic comment about before they consummate their love in the glow of "Spectravision porn" and then about his wife finding lipstick on his boxers. She concludes by saying that if he had a brain "in either head" (above the shoulders and down in the crotch) he'd realizing she's doing both of them a favor by blowing him off.
  • We hear a line read aloud from a floral delivery card that reads happy 50th anniversary and sorry about the rug burns last night.
  • A widow sheepishly tells the group that she and her late husband made a mold of "His...you know" (she doesn't complete the line, but obviously referring to his penis) so that way they could still "You know..." (have sex) after he was gone (played for comedy on the part of the film).
  • Noting that Eloise is happily humming, Marty asks if that's the international song for indicating she "got laid" last night (no sex or even fooling around occurred).
  • Marty does some spoken word poetry at a club for that, including a line about "You and your phallus may rule the world, but this Amazon bitch will cut you down to size."
  • We see Burke in just swim trunks as he drops down into a pool and then sits on the bottom for a while.
  • Burke and Eloise briefly kiss a few times in a slightly sensual manner (clothed and standing up).
  • SMOKING
  • Burke briefly smokes from a hookah (after being encouraged to do so) and then coughs that out, while a miscellaneous person on the street appears to be smoking (briefly seen from a distance).
  • Burke tells a person that cigarettes are more than a habit as they're also a denial mechanism.
  • TENSE FAMILY SCENES
  • Burke tells a story of a successful college football coach who committed suicide with a shotgun stemming from the earlier loss of his brother to a heart attack.
  • We see a flashback to the car accident that killed Burke's wife where the car swerves at night in the rain to avoid a dog and slams into a pole, crushing one side of the car (we don't see the impact on the wife, but hear that she died instantly).
  • We hear that Walter's son died in the past.
  • While we don't hear all of the individual details, all of those attending Burke's seminar are dealing with grief and/or guilt over the loss of a loved one sometime in their past.
  • Silver confronts Burke (for the first time since the wife/daughter's death 3 years ago) and isn't happy with him or his success.
  • Burke watches a video of his late wife.
  • Walter finally states that his 12-year-old son died when he accidentally fell off some scaffolding (after being told to stay in the car) and snapped his spine in two (he later states he was told not to touch his dying son for fear of doing further damage should he be saved, which he wasn't). Walter then adds that he lost his job and his wife left him due to his overwhelming grief and guilt.
  • Burke tells a white lie about his wife's funeral, but we then learn that he didn't even attend that.
  • Burke images seeing his wife with him atop the Space Needle, followed by partial views and sounds of the car crash that took her life.
  • Walter is still upset about his son's death and his related guilt, with Burke pointing out that the death of his son has also become the death of him.
  • Burke is unable to follow his own advice in dealing with his wife's death.
  • SPOILER ALERT: Burke finally admits that he was driving the car in the accident that took his wife's life (and that they had been arguing over paint colors).
  • TOPICS TO TALK ABOUT
  • Dealing with grief and possible guilt over a loved one's death.
  • The comment that happiness, as well as fear, is just a state of mind.
  • Lane telling Burke to enjoy his moment of success and live a little.
  • The comment that funerals are an important ritual.
  • Burke being unable to follow his own advice in dealing with his wife's death.
  • VIOLENCE
  • We see a flashback to the car accident that killed Burke's wife where the car swerves at night in the rain to avoid a dog and slams into a pole, crushing one side of the car (we don't see the impact on the wife, but hear that she died instantly).
  • Burke and others walk across hot coals as a demonstration of overcoming fear. When Walter is reluctant, Burke goes out onto the coals and just stands there, trying to convince him. That fails, and Burke has bad burns and blisters on his feet afterwards.
  • Burke images seeing his wife with him atop the Space Needle, followed by partial views and sounds of the car crash that took her life.
  • We see a few brief and partial views of the car accident that took the life of Burke's wife, including that of her apparently dead immediately afterwards, with her eyes open (no blood).



  • Reviewed September 15, 2009 / Posted September 18, 2009

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