Review: ‘Love Happens’

People are broken. The hurt is everywhere. In “Love Happens,” Burke Ryan (Aaron Eckhart) is someone who knows about pain from experience. His self-help book “A-Okay” is meant to help people through the process of losing of a loved one. On the outside, Burke is someone who has worked through the trauma of losing his wife, but inside he is still struggling more than many people who have read his book.

“Love Happens” explores the idea of wearing a mask, hiding behind the facade that the public believes. Through pushing other  people to confront their pain, Burke eventually deals with his own. This requires the help of Eloise (Jennifer Aniston), the owner of a flower shop in Seattle who he bumps into at his hotel.

Though this movie is advertised as a love story, this is not at all the focus. The emphasis of the story is placed on Burke’s struggle and not his love life. While Eloise’s role in leading Burke to help himself is crucial, romance-seekers are left wanting by the lack of love happening in this movie.

Burke’s journey, however, is one to be appreciated. It shows that no matter how great people appear on the outside, no matter how successful they seem, they could very well be screaming for help inside. There is an extreme contrast between who Burke is on stage, helping people, and when he is backstage, dealing with his grief. This juxtaposition may seem exaggerated at times, but it is all too true of what many people go through every day.

This emotional movie may give viewers a laugh or two, but the laughter seems out of place amidst the pain evident in almost every scene. “Love Happens” is not extremely depressing, but it is realistic and frank about tough experiences.

The glimmer of hope throughout the movie is the little romance that does happen between Burke and Eloise, lightening the mood of the story. Despite the shadow of darkness clouding this love story, “Love Happens” shows that you need to help yourself, and then “sometimes when you least expect it…love happens.”

This movie tells a great story, but if it emphasized the romantic aspect more, it would satisfy most audiences.