Love Is All You Need


Director: Susanne Bier

Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Trine Dyrholm, Molly Blixt Egelind, Sebastian Jessen

Genre: Comedy

Running Time: 116 min

Fri, Apr 19, 2013, 01:00


Plonk yourself straight into the middle of the latest film from Danish maestro Susanne Bier – director of Brothers and In a Better World – and you may reasonably deduce that it is a characteristically hard-edged, unforgiving family tragedy. Here is the middle-aged lead, stranded at a fractious house party, dressing down his manipulative, self-important sister-in-law. “You are the most awful person I have ever known,” he snaps. Oh, those cuddly Scandinavians.

But that actor is Pierce Brosnan, and the film follows the time-tested formula of the meet-cute romcom.

Trine Dyrholm plays a Danish hairdresser who – still hairless after apparently successful chemotherapy, recently estranged from her fat, philandering husband – travels to an idyllic Italian farmhouse for the wedding of her much-adored daughter.

In the airport car park, she crashes into an ill-tempered Englishman, who turns out to be the widowed father of the groom. At first, they loathe one another, but, once they are set loose in a crumbling lemon plantation, they begin to form unsteady romantic bonds. Cute meetings rarely get any cuter.

The film never quite clarifies its clutter of nationalities. As the awful in-law, Paprika Steen can’t seem to decide if she’s English or Danish. Sebastian Jessen, playing Pierce’s son, also appears stranded in the North Sea.

These are minor quibbles. Deliciously shot in a travelogue palette, Love Is All You Need makes glorious use of its two contrasting leads. Dyrholm plays the comedy and the drama with the same furrowed conviction, but (even after all this time) it is Brosnan who delivers the revelatory performance.

How cheering it is to see everyone’s third-favourite James Bond essay comedy that never strays into camp or self-parody. There’s a genuine tenderness in his efforts to confront lingering grief over his wife’s untimely death. His comic efforts to retain his dignity when disorder descends might earn a slight nod of appreciation from Cary Grant.

The Navan boy done good.