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Ordinary Love  (DVD)

6/10

Stars: Liam Neeson, Leslie Manville

Director: Lisa Borros D'Sa, Glenn Weyburn

With a film about a devoted couple living in early retirement in Belfast - a showcase for the considerable acting abilities of its two stars - we know that one or other of them will, in the course of the drama, face a crisis or be afflicted with a life-threatening illness.

Joan (Manville) and Tom (Neeson) live a quiet life rattling around in their big house since the death of their daughter 10 years earlier. She was 'killed', we're told, although we never learn the details in a scenario that is not interested in backstory, only in the reactions of its participants to the here and now.

Returning from their daily walk to a bridge over the River Lagan, Joan finds a lump in one of her breasts. 'It's probably a cyst,' says the doctor. But naturally, we, the audience, know better.

And so Joan has the breast cancer op, which successfully removes the cancerous lump and surrounding lymphnodes. 'Of course, there may be a few floating cancer cells,' says the doctor, and we can see what is coming; chemotherapy, sickness and pain.

We're braced for an uncomfortable watch here, and in that respect we're not disappointed, as the closed-in drama focuses almost entirely on the stars. And, as you'd expect, Manville and Neeson respond with delicate, nuanced performances, intuitive and understanding of the situation, although the unfolding of what developments there are hardly makes for gripping watching.

David Quinlan

UK 2019. UK Distributor: Universal (Focus). Colour (unspecified).
87 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 12.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 0, Swearing 1.

Review date: 11 Apr 2020