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Movie Review

Love Happens a.k.a. “Brand New Day,” “Traveling”

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for some language including sexual references.

Reviewed by: Rachelle Smotherman

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults, Teens
Romance, Drama
2 hr.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
September 18, 2009 (wide—1,800+ theaters)
DVD: February 2, 2010
Copyright, Focus Features click photos to ENLARGE Copyright, Focus Features Copyright, Focus Features Copyright, Focus Features Copyright, Focus Features Copyright, Focus Features
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Focus Features



What is true love and how do you know when you have found it? Answer

Sex, Love & Relationships
Learn how to make your love the best it can be. Discover biblical answers to questions about sex, marriage, sexual addictions, and more.
Featuring: Jennifer Aniston, Aaron Eckhart, Sasha Alexander, Martin Sheen, Judy Greer, Dan Fogler, Gina Holden, John Carroll Lynch, Joe Anderson, Brandon Jay McLaren, Rekha Sharma, Alessandro Juliani, Michelle Harrison, Anne Marie Loder, Ellie Harvie, Edwina Cheer, Darla Vandenbossche, Panou, Daniel Bacon, Michael Kopsa, Patricia Harras, Biski Gugushe, Tyler McClendon, Tim Henry, Glynis Davies, Elfina Luk, Alexa Devine, Randall Newsome, Shaine Jones, William “Big Sleeps” Stewart, Crystal Rainbow Mort, Gareth Von Kallenbach, Domonique Danielle, Carol Hodge, Luke Williams, Daniel Baas
Director: Brandon Camp
“John Doe,” “Dragonfly”
Producer: Stuber Productions, J. Miles Dale, Alexa Faigen, Mary Parent, Richard Solomon, Scott Stuber, Mike Thompson
Distributor: Focus Features

“Sometimes when you least expect it…”

If you’re looking for a movie that offers life lessons along with some romance, comedy and tears, “Love Happens” fits the bill.

Dr. Ryan (Aaron Eckhart), a self-help guru for people who are working through the grief of losing a loved one, meets Eloise (Jennifer Aniston) during one of his weekend seminars, and a surprising friendship begins to develop. This friendship challenges Dr. Ryan to really examine where he’s at emotionally and come to terms with some of his own issues surrounding the death of his wife.

Several uses of God’s name in vain, a rude reference to someone’s anatomy and a character’s “flipping the bird” earn this movie a PG-13 rating. Other than that, the content was surprisingly clean, which I especially appreciate nowadays.

This movie, while predictable, is refreshingly sweet. If you’re hoping for an intense, suspense filled movie, this isn’t it. However, if you’re tired of the trashy films being made today and would like to see a movie that celebrates life while acknowledging the sometimes painful process we go through, you may enjoy “Love Happens”.

Violence: None / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Comments below:
Positive—If you are looking for a movie that doesn’t have all that trash in it, this is the movie for you! It is very refreshing to know that not all movies produced these days are full of trash. That being said, there were a couple of parts in the movie where the Lord’s name is taken in vain and one part referring to a sexual reference. This movie tells the story of a man who’s trying to help other people heal from the lost their loved ones but in the end realizes that he needs to heal from losing his wife. If you have lost someone close to you, this movie really touches your heart. I lost my mom to cancer two years ago so I can relate to this movie. The movie is a sad, love story. It mainly focuses on how you deal with losing someone instead of the “love” story. But, overall, this was a wonderful movie.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Leslie, age 26 (USA)
Positive—I am VERY selective and picky on the movies I like and a very strong Christian. I thought this movie was AWESOME! The acting was great, the storyline was really great and surprising; it was totally unpredictable. It made you really think about life and the things we deal with, and I left there really glad I saw it. I will definitely see it again. Also, the filming of the movie was spectacular. I highly recommend this movie, not only from being thought-provoking, but it also is really clean. Definitely see it. You will be glad you did.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Excellent! / Moviemaking quality: 5
—Samantha Taylor, age 35 (USA)


Negative—This was a well filmed movie with talented acting. The script was even some what well written. I just couldn’t help sitting through the whole movie and thinking how a Christian would react to the situations. There really is no Christian perspective here, just people trying to find answers on their own. The taking of the Lord’s name in vain is all throughout the movie. There were a few bits of dialogue that grossed out the audience. So while the acting and filming were very entertaining, and even some of the ideas and thoughts from the doctor were nice, the film just didn’t manage to have any truths or glory for God.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 4½
—Trina, age 41 (USA)
Movie Critics
…Magic doesn’t happen in this leaden love story. … blandness and predictability…
—Stephen Farber, The Hollywood Reporter
…'Love Happens' doesn’t get much love… Although the film begins promisingly, it proves to be little more than a soap opera. …
—Calvin Wilson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
…Because this is a standard Hollywood rom-com, we know everything will work out in the end—but the clichés are at times too much to bear. …[1/4]
—Vanessa Farquharson, National Post
…“Love Happens” is an oddly upbeat title for a movie that is surprisingly sad. The ads would have you think this is a warm and fuzzy romantic comedy, but the plot focuses on facing death and loss. …
—Claudia Puig, USA TODAY
Comments from young people