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'Ordinary Love's' Lesley Manville lauds film's "honest portrayal" of marriage in sickness and in health

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Liam Neeson and Lesley Manville in “Ordinary Love”; Aidan Monaghan/Bleecker Street(NEW YORK) — Oscar-nominated actress Lesley Manville stars opposite Liam Neeson in the emotional romantic drama, Ordinary Love.

The two play a long-married couple facing a new challenge when Manville’s character, Joan, gets diagnosed with breast cancer. Manville tells ABC Audio the film’s intimate portrayal of a lasting love through grief and illness has been resonating with audiences.

“I have been inundated with women who’ve been through this and medical people who are involved with curing people who are going through this, [and they] have said to me that they found the film completely uplifting and such an honest portrayal of what that journey is like,” she says. “And they’re very grateful for that. The film doesn’t sugarcoat it, doesn’t sentimentalize it.”

For Manville, the role was also a way to bring to the screen the story of middle-aged marriage — a rarity in Hollywood. The actress, who’s 63, says she’s seen a slow change in the industry when it comes to interesting roles for women over 40.

“I think it has been getting better for women of my age slowly over the last decade, and that’s thanks to a lot of great actresses who are 50 plus, 60 plus, even 70 plus who are still playing interesting women who are at the forefront of the story, not just the wife or the mother who’s in the background and serving the man,” Manville says. “There are films now that are made where the women are up front and it’s about them.”

Ordinary Love is in theaters now. Manville next appears in the Tony Kushner adaptation of the stage play The Visit at London’s Olivier Theatre.

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