Love Is All You Need
This has all the ingredients of a Hollywood rom-com. When a middle-aged Danish hairdresser finds that her husband is having it off with a young woman she makes for Italy for her daughter's wedding alone. There, in the midst of the beautiful Italian scenery, she runs into a handsome but prickly businessman who is in Italy for his son's wedding (yes, you guessed it). Before they even have a chance to make eyes, hubby turns up with 'the slut' and the businessman's annoying sister-in-law decides she's in love with him.
So we have a wedding in a sunny Italian locale where there are numerous romantic possibilities and a title that suggests an inevitable frothy romp that will have a Beatles sing-along at some stage.
But with Susanne Bier (Brothers, After The Wedding) calling the shots the darkness is never far away. The middle-aged woman, Ida (Dyrholm, she of the irresistible grin) has breast cancer; we first meet her discussing reconstructive breast surgery with her doctor and she discovers her husband's (Bodnia) infidelity when she arrives home from chemotherapy early. Okay, not so frothy. Brosnan, the handsome businessman, on whose gorgeous lemon grove estate the wedding is taking place, is prickly for a real reason. All's not well with their kids (Jessen and Molly Blixt Egelind) either, whom the parents feel are rushing into marriage. And the movie only makes one fleeting reference to the fab four when a hairdresser disparagingly refers to a customer's hairstyle as Lennon-esque. This is all welcome.
There are big issues with tone, though. Bier's experiment to marry fantasy with reality struggles to work and Brosnan looks uncomfortable with the bubbly side of things, waiting around so he can flex his dramatic muscles in the film's more meaty moments. He also seems to be waiting around for the characters to speak English - the dialogue is half Danish - but for his patience he's awarded one of the film's best scenes when he systematically deconstructs his sister-in-law's (a wonderfully loud Paprika Steen) faults.
Love Is All You Need can be engaging one moment and cringingly woeful the next so when it gets bad just concentrate on the scenery and that beautiful house.
Review by Gavin Burke | 12:33 | Wednesday 3rd April 2013 | Movie Review
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