Love is All You Need
A syrupy, genre-led romcom-lite starring Pierce Brosnan and Trine Dyrholm
Love, apparently, is all you need, which could be why Susanne Bier has forgotten about nuance, character, wit and candour. Expectations were high for the Danish director of 2010’s Oscar-winning In a Better World, but she has let herself down with this syrupy, genre-led romcom-lite that, in a better world, would have been euthanised at first sight.
Pierce Brosnan, the wilderness-years Bond, plays Philip, a widowed, irritable British businessman who has agreed to host his son’s wedding at his sprawling Italian villa. En route he meets mother of the bride Ida (Trine Dyrholm), a Danish hairdresser recovering from chemotherapy and just separated from her husband Lief (Kim Bodnia). As they help their children with the nuptials, earthy, straightforward Ida begins to break through grumpy old Phillip’s torpor.
Newcomers Sebastian Jessen and Molly Blixt Egelind crack the gloss that oozes over this film as the betrothed offspring of the two leads, with performances filled with both energy and doubt; but they’re forced into minor roles as mummy and daddy behave badly. If we glimpsed in Lief the man whom Ida married, or if Brosnan’s Philip acted like the defensive, distant loner he pretends to be, then this could have evolved into an ornate comedy of errors. But Lief is a Faustian cartoon-buffoon, willing to cheat on his wife while she recovers from cancer, while Brosnan moves from broken-hearted misanthrope to sleazy wedding hitman before you can say ‘shaken, not stirred.’
All we’re left with is a tourist office fetish of rustic Italian life which, with eternal montages of lapping waves, crying gulls and sun-kissed lemon groves, willfully tries to market itself as delightful and heartwarming, but ends up being neither.
Limited release from Fri 19 Apr.