Love Is All You Need

Love Is All You Need is set up as a romantic comedy, and it is pretty much by the numbers. Only the numbers don’t add up to a top-tier successful movie – which has been proven by a weak box office. The film was directed by Susanne Bier – who won an Oscar in 2011 for Best Foreign Language Film with  In a Better World. To give you some idea of what the world’s film industry thinks of Bier; currently she is in the post-production phase of a film she directed called Serena which stars Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper which will open overseas in the fall.

We meet the two leads quite simply. Ida is a hairdresser employed ‘somewhere in Copenhagen’. She’s also been through a mastectomy and chemo for breast cancer. Her physician announces that things look under control (as in remission) but there’s no guarantees. And would she be interested in breast reconstruction. Ida says – no thanks – my husband hasn’t noticed that there’s only one.

But before you decide to stop reading any further – thinking this film is going to be about illness – it really isn’t. Ida looks wonderful in a blonde wig – the chemo has taken her hair. Ida is played by Trine Dyrholm. When she gets home from the hospital she finds her husband frolicking on the living room sofa with a blonde bimbo half his age.

He explains that he was on his lunch hour. And this is Thilde from Accounting.

I don’t know if he should be called a brute, a lout, or just an idiot. Or all three as he tries to blame Ida by claiming that her illness was difficult for him too.

Then we meet Pierce Brosnan as a Philip, a rather successful British importer of fruits and vegetables (of all kinds). He’s kind of a dour guy. He’s never gotten over the death of his wife in a tragic accident years ago. He wears sorrow and sadness as part of his regular ‘look’. When one of the office ladies makes a play for him – he turns her down flat.

You gorgeous, sweet beautiful girl  – this is never going to happen. I’m a guy who has chosen to be by himself. Simple as that.

So Ida and Philip meet at the airport – in a not unexpected fender-bender. And the world is so small that:

1) They are both flying to Italy to attend a wedding 2) His son 3) Her daughter 4) Are marrying each other 5) At Philip’s villa estate overlooking Naples Bay in Sorrento, Italy.

Of course it is hate at first sight – we shouldn’t have expected any thing less. But the moonlight, and the sea, and the lovely flowers can make anyone feel good. Toss in Dean Martin crooning That’s Amore, which despite being something of a cliché, still helps set up a romantic film.

Only these families are far more on the side of dysfunctional than normal. Problems arise by the minute – lusty sister-in-law, philandering husband who brings his tootsie to the wedding, worries between the bride and groom, family feuds, and so forth, pepper the story. Things do work out but not without some bumps in the road.

Bier, along with her regular writing partner – Anders Thomas Jensen, have scripted a film that should be a romantic/comedy/drama only it doesn’t garner a lot of laughs, it doesn’t tug at your heart, and it doesn’t induce tears either.

Yet – the setting is so wonderful that you sort of get carried along and involved which is good but decidedly different from deeply involved and moved. However, the sensation is pleasant. What I’m saying is that the movie isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, yet it should have been, or could have been far better.

Brosnan is rather good in these kind of roles, and now that he’s an Ex-Bond, he should look for more work in this kind of role. I’d say this was a walk in the park for him – certainly he wasn’t forced to work all that hard to bring us Philip. Trine Dyrholm, as Ida, had a much more difficult role. She was simply superb. I’d pay money to see her again.

The film gives you what we can call a familiar and comfortable feel to it. It is by no means something you must avoid. I’d recommend it for the settings, the climate, and a rather workable romantic pair with Brosnan and Dyrholm. But that is about as positive as I can get. One more thing – the film has the unusual mix of being half in Danish, with English subtitles, and half English as well. Three point zero is the rating. Check out the trailer.

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