In Review: Love Is All You Need

by Martyn Conterio on 15/04/2013

pierce brosnan

Middle-aged relationship woes and romance are themes barely touched by film-makers and writers. Oscar-winner Susanne Bier tackles the subject matter head-on in a sunny bilingual comedy starring Pierce Brosnan.

Philip is a widower living in Denmark running a fruit and vegetable import business. His only son Patrick is getting married in Italy to the daughter of a hairdresser. Philip’s initial frostiness towards his future daughter-in-law’s mother, Ida (Trine Dyrholm), soon thaws in the picture-postcard Amalfi setting.

Bier emerged to international acclaim in the early noughties with dramas such as Open Hearts and Brothers. She won an Oscar for In a Better World and is well-known for getting strong performances from actors. Here, she uses leading man Brosnan’s ‘Irish Cary Grant’ manner to perfection. The actor, it must be said, is pure class and elegance to a T. No one quite wears a suit with such grace. It’s almost unnatural, in fact.

Philip, of course, falls in love with Ida. The plot is less written in the stars and more plucked from the standard-issue Movie Romance Guide. Here is a woman who not only has to put up with a dopey and insensitive husband, from whom she’s recently split, but is also getting over the ravages of breast cancer. Ida wears a wig and is commendably unashamed of her body after having a partial mastectomy. This is a reminder to us all that a person’s appeal is not exclusively aesthetic. Indeed, this is a movie all about the deceptive nature of appearance, whether that’s Philip’s lifestyle or Ida’s body. Make assumptions at your peril.

Brosnan and co-star Dyrholm share a fine chemistry as Philip and Ida, which allows for an engaging narrative to unfold as the pair navigate a plethora of issues on their path to happiness. Poor Philip must also contend with the unwanted affections of an overbearing sister-in-law, played with scene-stealing relish by Paprika Steen.

Love Is All You Need is a hugely likeable movie anchored by two richly detailed central performances. Brosnan, the former 007, it must be commented upon, wears a suit like nobody else.

Martyn has awarded the charming Love is All You Need three Torches of Truth


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