Love Is All You Need
Arrow Films presents a Danish feature directed by Susanne Bier that brings together Trine Dyrholm and Pierce Brosnan as Ida, a woman battling with a cheating husband and the aftermath of chemotherapy, and widower Philip, protagonists in a romance that begins as they meet at their children’s wedding.
The encounter takes place in Sorrento, Italy where Brosnan’s character met his first wife who died several years before. The beauty and warmth of the setting naturally inspires a feeling of romance, but it all has a slight Mamma Mia air to it – minus the singing.
That aside, Bier instills a tenderness in Ida whose struggle with cancer functions as a sub plot, the focus being on her beauty and delicate, intelligent nature. Dyrholm is astonishing to look at on screen, and the grace that she brings to Ida is moving. Brosnan’s Philip begins as a wounded, uptight businessman (recognisable from previous films like Remember Me,) but he gently and gradually weaves a vulnerability that proves his fine technique as an actor.
There are some glorious moments for Philip’s desperate sister-in-law, Benedikte (Paprika Steen) as she is batted away in her attempts to woo Philip. Ida’s husband Leif (Kim Bodnia) brings his new woman Tilde (Christiane Schaumburg-Muller) to the wedding unannounced, with both characters lending a comic naivety to the film. The reaction from Ida’s children is a dream, particularly Kenneth (Micky Skeel Hansen) with his biting tongue and later, brilliantly well-placed left hook.
The focus of Love Is All You Need is of course on love, in a rom-com that is naturally charming and relatable. It doesn’t sicken, and the story is plausible and raw. It explores sexuality, sensuality, and the nature of love in a way that is considerate and inquisitive. Susanne Bier has a clear vision with her directorial story, admitting that she is “very romantic” herself but insisting “you can’t be heavy handed in a rom-com” – and this very human clarity works in the film’s favour.
Emotionally engaging and a relatively easy watch, Love Is All You Need is subtitled, but not noticeably, with fluid scenes in English interjected throughout (our leading man understands Danish but never speaks it). It’s gorgeously shot and a very open, appreciative film.
Love Is All You Need is released in selected cinemas on 19th April 2013.
Watch the trailer for Love Is All You Need here: