Ordinary Love Movie / Synopsis + Complete Story - Ro1 2020

Love is a force that knows no bounds, transcending the ordinary and defying the odds. In the heart-wrenching film Ordinary Love, directed by Lisa Barros D'Sa and Glenn Leyburn, we are immersed in a tale of unwavering devotion and the indomitable spirit of a couple facing the unimaginable.

Lesley Manville and Liam Neeson bring to life the characters of Joan and Tom Thompson, whose lives are forever altered by a breast cancer diagnosis.

As we delve into their journey, we witness the strength of their bond and the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity.

Brace yourself for a rollercoaster of emotions as we uncover the complete story of Ordinary Love.


In "Ordinary Love," Joan and Tom Thompson's seemingly ordinary lives are turned upside down when Joan is diagnosed with breast cancer. As they navigate the challenges of her diagnosis, their enduring love and devotion are put to the test.

Joan's journey begins when she discovers a mass on her breast while showering. With Tom by her side, they head to the hospital where she undergoes surgery to remove the cancer. While Joan recovers, Tom visits their daughter's grave and confesses his fear of being left alone without his wife.

As Joan starts chemotherapy, tensions arise between her and Tom. They disagree on what it means to be "cancer-free," and their marriage is strained. Joan's hair begins to fall out, and Tom lovingly shaves her head.

In the midst of their struggles, Joan finds solace in her conversations with Peter, a terminal cancer patient she meets at the hospital.

Despite the hardships, Joan and Tom find moments of joy and intimacy. They have a romantic evening at a hotel before Joan's mastectomy, reaffirming their love for each other. Joan undergoes the surgery and more rounds of chemotherapy, with Tom faithfully waiting by her side.

Throughout their journey, Joan and Tom encounter others who have experienced love and loss in the face of illness. They attend Peter's funeral, where Steve, Peter's husband, delivers a heartfelt eulogy.

These encounters remind them of the fragility of life and the importance of cherishing their time together.

Finally, Joan completes her cancer treatment and undergoes reconstructive surgery. With a renewed sense of hope, Joan and Tom go about their daily lives, preparing for Christmas and taking their familiar exercise walk.

They are delighted to find that the sapling they once passed has grown, symbolizing their resilience and the growth of their love.

"Ordinary Love" is a poignant and heartfelt exploration of the power of love in the face of adversity. It reminds us that even in the most ordinary of lives, extraordinary love can be found.

List of Chapters:

  1. The Story of "Ordinary Love"
  2. Joan and Tom's Journey Through Illness
  3. Peter's Role in the Story
  4. Steve's Contribution to the Narrative
  5. The Range of Emotions Experienced
  6. The Enduring Love and Devotion
  7. Key Moments and Turning Points
  8. Conflicts and Obstacles Faced
  9. Lessons and Messages Conveyed

The Story of "Ordinary Love"

"Ordinary Love" is a 2019 romantic drama film directed by Lisa Barros D'Sa and Glenn Leyburn, from a screenplay by Owen McCafferty. The movie stars Liam Neeson and Lesley Manville. The film tells the story of a couple navigating the world of serious illness.

The screenplay is inspired by Irish playwright Owen McCafferty's own wife's experience with breast cancer.

Joan and Tom Thompson are a married couple who have been together for many years.

They have an "ordinary life" and enjoy taking daily walks, shopping, and joking around with each other.

They have a deep love for each other that is shown through tenderness and humor.

Tom owns a pet fish that Joan does not care for.

They decide to have a romantic evening at a hotel before Joan's mastectomy, and Tom promises to still love Joan even if she does not have breasts.

Joan undergoes the mastectomy and chemotherapy, and Tom waits outside for her during her treatments.

Later, Joan undergoes surgery to reconstruct her breasts using abdominal muscle tissue.

Throughout the film, their relationship is portrayed as one of love, support, and humor, even in the face of difficult circumstances.

Joan and Tom's Journey Through Illness

In the movie "Ordinary Love," Joan and Tom, a long-married couple, face a health crisis when Joan is diagnosed with breast cancer. Throughout the film, they navigate the world of serious illness, including medical tests, surgeries, therapeutic treatments, and their side effects, as well as the aftermath.

They face a range of emotions and challenges, including fear, grief, helplessness, compassion, loneliness, survivor guilt, exhaustion, and the guilt of feeling angry at the one who is dying.

The toll of these stresses takes a significant toll on their relationship, and the film explores the impact of Joan's illness on their marriage.

Despite the heavy conversations and reciprocal fears and insecurities, their marriage has a warm and slightly itchy feel of a pair of well-worn wool socks.

The film also looks at Joan's friendship with a fellow cancer patient, who used to teach their late daughter.

Throughout the film, Joan and Tom's relationship is tested, but they find ways to support each other through the difficult times.

Peter's Role in the Story

Peter is a character in the movie "Ordinary Love" who is a cancer patient and a former teacher of Tom and Joan's daughter, Debbie. Joan meets Peter in the hospital waiting room, and they strike up a friendship based on their shared experiences with cancer.

Peter's role in the story is to provide a glimpse into the lives of other cancer patients and to show how Joan and Tom interact with others who are going through similar struggles.

Later in the movie, Peter passes away, and Joan and Tom attend his funeral.

Steve's Contribution to the Narrative

In the movie "Ordinary Love," Steve contributes to the narrative by providing support and understanding to Tom, who is the husband of Joan, the main character facing a serious illness. Steve is Peter's husband, who is a close friend of Tom and Joan.

When Tom meets Steve in the hospital cafeteria, they strike up a conversation and discuss their shared experiences around love and loss.

Steve becomes a source of companionship and understanding for Tom during this difficult time.

As Tom navigates the challenges of Joan's illness, Steve offers emotional support.

He provides a listening ear and a shoulder to lean on, allowing Tom to express his fears, grief, and other complex emotions.

Steve's presence helps Tom cope with the various emotions he experiences throughout the film.

Steve's character in "Ordinary Love" serves as a supportive friend and confidant to Tom, offering companionship, emotional support, and a different perspective on love and loss.

His presence contributes to the exploration of the themes of the film and enhances the depth of the narrative.

The Range of Emotions Experienced

Throughout the film "Ordinary Love" (2020), Joan and Tom experience a range of emotions as they navigate the challenges of serious illness. Some of the emotions they experience include:

  • Affection: Tom and Joan have an amiable, affectionate relationship with a lot of gentle teasing.
  • Concern: The film begins with initial tests that are "concerning".
  • Fear: Joan is diagnosed with breast cancer, and she and Tom must navigate the world of serious illness, including surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.
  • Sadness: Joan suffers both physically and emotionally as her body is constantly poked, prodded, poisoned, and mutilated.
  • Humor: When Tom cuts off Joan's hair after it starts to come out in clumps, she pretends to find it all funny as long as he is in the room.
  • Intimacy: Joan and Tom pay a tender farewell to her breasts in a scene so intimate it is almost intrusive.
  • Hope: The film offers hope and inspiration, with the characters finding meaning in their experience.

The Enduring Love and Devotion

In the movie "Ordinary Love," the enduring love and devotion of the couple, Joan and Tom, is a central theme. Despite facing a health crisis when Joan is diagnosed with breast cancer, their love for each other remains strong.

Their relationship is characterized by tenderness, humor, and a deep connection.

They have been married for many years and have developed a sense of ease and familiarity in their relationship.

Throughout the film, their love and devotion are tested as they navigate the challenges of Joan's illness.

They work together to support each other and overcome the obstacles they face.

Despite the stresses and fears that arise, their love remains steadfast.

The movie portrays the ordinary moments of their daily lives, highlighting the strength and resilience of their relationship.

Critics have praised the performances of Liam Neeson and Lesley Manville, who portray Joan and Tom, for their portrayal of a couple with a remarkable love.

The film explores the limits of sharing a life together and the importance of staying committed to each other through difficult times.

Key Moments and Turning Points

In the movie "Ordinary Love," there are several key moments and turning points in the plot. Here are some of them:

  1. Diagnosis: The couple, Tom and Joan, navigate the world of serious illness as they receive the diagnosis of Joan's breast cancer. This sets the stage for the challenges they will face throughout the film.
  2. Surgery: Joan's doctor arranges for surgery to remove the cancerous mass and surrounding lymph nodes. On the day of Joan's surgery, Tom visits the grave of their daughter, Debbie, alone and confesses his fears of being left alone without his wife. The surgery goes well, and the doctors are able to remove all physical signs of cancer.
  3. Chemotherapy: After the surgery, Joan is referred to an oncologist to start chemotherapy. However, there is a disagreement between Joan and Tom about the nature of being "cancer-free". This difference in perspective adds to the challenges they face as a couple.
  4. Encounters with others: While waiting for her chemotherapy appointment, Joan encounters Debbie's primary school teacher, Peter, who reveals that he has terminal cancer. These encounters with others who are also battling cancer provide Joan and Tom with different perspectives and insights.
  5. Romantic moments: Joan and Tom decide to have a romantic evening at a hotel before Joan's mastectomy. They enjoy a fancy dinner and try to find moments of joy and connection amidst the challenges they are facing.

These key moments and turning points in the plot contribute to the overall narrative of "Ordinary Love" and showcase the challenges and resilience of the couple as they face a cancer diagnosis and its aftermath.

Conflicts and Obstacles Faced

In the movie "Ordinary Love," Joan and Tom, a long-married couple, face various conflicts and obstacles as they navigate a health crisis, specifically Joan's breast cancer diagnosis. Some of the conflicts and obstacles they encounter include:

  • Fear and Insecurity: Both Joan and Tom experience reciprocal fears and insecurities as they confront the reality of Joan's illness.
  • Stress and Tension: The toll of the health crisis and the emotional weight it carries lead to moments of stress and tension in their relationship. This is exemplified by an ugly argument that flares up late in the film.
  • Diverging Approaches to Illness: Joan and Tom have different ways of coping with the illness. Joan wants to pretend everything is ordinary, while Tom wants to take action and do something.
  • Navigating Treatment Decisions: Joan and Tom must make difficult decisions regarding Joan's treatment, such as whether to have homemade pork chops for dinner or go out for Thai, reflecting their diverging approaches to illness.

Despite these conflicts and obstacles, the film also explores the unwavering devotion and love between Joan and Tom as they face this health crisis together. The movie focuses on the mundane aspects of their lives and the small, intimate moments that define their relationship.

Lessons and Messages Conveyed

"Ordinary Love" is a movie that explores the theme of ordinary love through the story of a couple navigating the world of serious illness. The film portrays the everyday lives of regular people leading normal lives.

The characters, Joan and Tom, have an amiable, affectionate relationship with a lot of gentle teasing that may sound like bickering but is really their form of banter, clearly honed over decades together.

The smallest details of their relationship are thoughtfully observed and portrayed with sympathetic honesty.

They face fear, grief, helplessness, compassion, loneliness, survivor guilt, exhaustion, and the guilt of feeling angry at the one who is dying.

The movie shows how love can be found in the smallest moments of life, even in the midst of illness and loss.

The film is real, raw, and searingly honest in its portrayal of the plethora of emotions that come with a cancer diagnosis.

While the movie abundantly observes the journey of both the patient and the loved one, the script lacks opportunities for the characters to explore its meaning.

Overall, "Ordinary Love" is an intimate, well-acted drama that explores marriage, illness, and loss.

Discussion topics

  • 1) What are the main themes or ideas explored in "Ordinary Love"?
  • 2) How does the film portray the challenges faced by Joan and Tom in dealing with a breast cancer diagnosis? Do you think it accurately represents the emotional and physical toll of such a diagnosis?
  • 3) Can you relate to the experiences of Joan and Tom in the film? Have you or someone you know faced a similar situation? How did it impact your relationships and outlook on life?
  • 4) How does the film use its genre, a romantic drama, to convey the story of Joan and Tom? Do you think this genre effectively captures the complexities of their relationship and the challenges they face?
  • 5) In what ways does "Ordinary Love" stand out from other films that tackle the theme of illness or medical challenges? How does it compare to other romantic dramas you have seen?
  • 6) How did watching "Ordinary Love" impact your understanding of love, devotion, and resilience? Did it challenge any preconceived notions you had about these concepts?
  • 7) What do you think the film is trying to say about the strength of love and the power of human connection in the face of adversity? Do you agree with its message? Why or why not?
  • 8) How does the film explore the dynamics of Joan and Tom's relationship? Did you find their interactions and communication realistic? Why or why not?
  • 9) What role does friendship play in the film, particularly through the character of Peter? How does his presence and support affect Joan and Tom's journey?
  • 10) How does "Ordinary Love" address the impact of illness on a person's identity and sense of self? Do you think it accurately portrays the emotional struggles and personal growth that can come from such experiences?
  • 11) How does the film handle the topic of grief and loss? Did it resonate with your own experiences of loss or mourning? Why or why not?
  • 12) What do you think the film's title, "Ordinary Love," signifies? How does it relate to the story and the characters' journey?
  • 13) How does the film balance the serious and emotional aspects of the story with moments of humor and lightness? Do you think this balance was effective in conveying the complexities of Joan and Tom's relationship?
  • 14) How does the film explore the role of communication and vulnerability in a relationship? Did you find the characters' struggles relatable? Why or why not?
  • 15) What impact do you think "Ordinary Love" can have on raising awareness about breast cancer and the challenges faced by patients and their loved ones?
  • I have imagined continuations for 'Ordinary Love'. If you are interested in knowing what will happen, check the link below or in the sidebar.

    Reflections on the topic at hand

    So, you've just finished watching Ordinary Love, huh? What a rollercoaster of emotions, right? I mean, who would have thought that a movie about a couple facing the challenges of breast cancer could be so captivating and heart-wrenching? But here we are, left with a whirlwind of thoughts and feelings.

    Lesley Manville and Liam Neeson did an incredible job portraying Joan and Tom Thompson. Their performances were so raw and authentic that it felt like we were right there with them, experiencing every moment of their journey. From the initial shock of the diagnosis to the grueling treatments and the inevitable ups and downs, their love and devotion never wavered.

    One thing that struck me about this film was its ability to capture the complexities of love. It's easy to think of love as this grand, sweeping gesture, but Ordinary Love reminds us that it's often found in the small, everyday moments. It's in the way Tom holds Joan's hand during her chemotherapy sessions or how Joan makes Tom's favorite meal after a long day at the hospital. It's in the way they laugh together, cry together, and support each other through it all.

    But this movie also raises some thought-provoking questions. How do we define love in the face of adversity? Can love truly conquer all? And what happens when the person we love is suffering, and we feel helpless to ease their pain? These are tough questions, ones that don't have easy answers. But Ordinary Love invites us to ponder them and reflect on our own relationships.

    As the credits roll and we're left with a mix of emotions, one thing is clear: love is anything but ordinary. It's messy, complicated, and sometimes downright painful. But it's also beautiful, resilient, and capable of withstanding the toughest of challenges. Ordinary Love reminds us that love is not just a feeling; it's a choice, a commitment to stand by someone's side no matter what.

    So, as you go about your day, let this movie linger in your thoughts. Let it remind you to cherish the ordinary moments, to hold your loved ones a little tighter, and to never take love for granted. Because in the end, it's love that truly makes life extraordinary.

    Ordinary Love Trailer(2020) | Movieclips Trailers

    Tip: Turn on the caption button if you need it. Choose 'automatic translation' in the settings button if you are not familiar with the english language. You may need to click on the language of the video first before your favorite language becomes available for translation.

    Links and references

    Maybe you just want to understand the story and ending:

    Ordinary love movie explained / understanding the ending and story - RO1 2020

    If you are looking for a different ending, this is the article for you:

    Ordinary love movie / alternative ending - RO1 2020

    Or maybe you haven't watched it and are trying to figure out if the movie is for you:

    Love's unbreakable bond, a journey of endurance and devotion - RO1 2020

    It's time to share this post on your social media to spark some discussion:

    Share on…