Love Is All You Need | Film reviews, news & interviews
Love Is All You Need
Not your usual romcom: a pleasing tale about mismatched older lovers
Following in the footsteps of hugely popular television dramas and film adaptations of various Scandi noir novels comes this overwhelmingly sympathetic piece, a romcom that hasn't an ounce of gloopiness and, unusually, is about middle-aged people getting it together.
Pierce Brosnan plays Philip, an uptight Englishman living in Copenhagen who is still grieving the death of his Danish wife some years before and is estranged from their adult son, Patrick (Sebastian Jessen). Ida (Trine Dyrholm, pictured below with Brosnan), meanwhile, is a hairdresser in the same city coming to terms with both the loss of her hair after cancer treatment and discovering her feckless husband, Leif (Kim Bodnia, from The Bridge and The Killing) in flagrante in the marital home with a much younger colleague
Patrick is about to marry his girlfriend, Astrid (Molly Blixt Egelind), after a whirlwind romance. Astrid is Ida's daughter, and what do you know but she and Philip bump into each other when Ida prangs his car at the airport as they are both about to catch a plane to the Amalfi coast, where the wedding is about to take place.
Family and friends gather at the Sorrento hilltop villa owned by Philip, a place painfully associated with Patrick’s mother and where he has a vast lemon grove (lemons are a quirky leitmotif of this film, presumably pointing to the bittersweet nature of love) central to his fruit import business back in Denmark. As the preparations unfurl, so do various relationships and various characters' lies and secrets emerge.
Director Susanne Bier (who won an Oscar for 2010's rather different In a Better World) flirts with several clichés - chance meeting, star-cross'd lovers, sexual confusion - in Anders Thomas Jensen's script (spoken in a mixture of Danish and English) but trumps them each time by bringing out both its knowing comedy about recognisable human foibles and pleasingly authentic performances from her actors. Brosnan is superb with his nuanced portrayal of a man trapped in grief, but he is equalled by Dyrholm's subtle essay of a woman so unused to being treasured that she doesn't at first recognise love when it calls.
Paprika Steen, as Philip's loud-mouthed and crass sister-in-law Benedikte, who fancies herself as replacing her late sister in his affections, steals every scene she's in and is an absolute hoot, while Egelind is one to watch. And while the story, the Sorrento setting and Brosnan's presence prompts memories of Mamma Mia!, have no fear; he doesn't sing.
Watch the trailer for Love is All You Need
Subscribe to theartsdesk.com
Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £2.95 per month or £25 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.
To take an annual subscription now simply click here.
And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?
Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay shine in Andrew Haigh's wintry marital drama
Arch reimagining of a gruesome 1976 proto-slasher film of the same name
Finely formed tale of battling the odds from the director of 'The Page Turner'
Uneven TV travelogue from the maverick director
James Franco nears rock bottom in London-set thriller
Georges Franju’s 1960 auteur horror feature remains fresh and still disturbs
Outstanding documentary reveals how movies offered escapism and salvation for a family living in the shadows
Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf's anatomy of tyranny in collapse
Aberrahmane Sissoko's essential reflection on the occupation of the Malian desert town
Alejandro Jodorowsky returns as a director after three decades with a wild take on his own childhood
theartsdesk recommends the half-dozen top movies out now
Autobiographical account of National Service days lacks fizz