I thoroughly dislike chick flicks, and rom-coms are just flat out annoying. So why do I like LOVE HAPPENS? Believe me, I gave this film every chance to bug me to the point I would stop watching, but it never happened. So again, why? I'll try to hack out a soppy answer.
Chemistry. There is a legitimate chemistry between LOVE HAPPENS stars Jennifer Aniston and Aaron Eckhart; they're not cookie cutter one-dimensionals that populate so many other films of this genre--these characters are believable, interact believably, and harbor true anguish and pain. Eckhart, playing self-help guru Burke (who has penned a bestseller about how to deal with pain and loss), by fate meets Eloise (Aniston), who is the florist for the Seattle hotel where Burke is conducting a seminar. Even though Burke is helping others cope with their grief, it becomes more and more obvious he's bottling up some pain of his own. (His wife having died in an auto accident some years before.) Meanwhile Eloise has been in one disastrous relationship after another, but she has a heart of gold and is willing to help Burke--if Burke will first help himself. All of this rushes headlong to a climactic scene featuring an interaction between Burke and his former father-in-law (Martin Sheen is very special); this scene was so compelling and poignant and tender I had to keep reminding myself I normally don't like movies like this.
Sure, much of the film is sappy and contrived, and Eloise's habit of leaving obscure words behind paintings at the hotel struck me as more than annoying, but overall I very much enjoyed LOVE HAPPENS. Dan Fogler and John Carroll Lynch stand out amidst a solid supporting cast. There's pain, there's humor, there's romance, there's anguish--in short, there's life. Why? Because LOVE HAPPENS.
--D. Mikels, Author, The Reckoning