When Love is All You Need (movie review)

                  Because I’m not a big fan of sentimental and mushy love stories, I’ll have to admit the actual reason that convinced me to watch a movie with the tell-tale title Love is All You Need was Pierce Brosnan. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was not your usual sentimental rehashed mush. Au contraire.

                  This is the story of Ida, a Danish hairdresser who has just finished chemotherapy treatments but is not sure she is in complete remission. She finds out her husband Leif, who both their children think is one big jerk, has been cheating on her with his accountant and neither of them are hiding the fact. Meanwhile, her daughter Astrid is about to be married to Patrick, the impetuous and confused son of fruit and vegetable trade magnate, the widower Philip. They all meet in Italy, where only family and close friends are invited to the ceremony. Philip’s family includes his boisterous and pushy sister-in-law, who has her own designs on Philip, believing he has always loved her and not her sister. Amidst the awkwardness of the situation and all the mishaps that occur, the characters come to realize many things, the most important of which are whether or not they really love, and whom they really love.

It is not a complex story. In fact, it is poignant in its simplicity. Sure, it’s a twist on poor-girl-meets-rich-boy romance, but the characters are so real, each with his or her foibles and quirks, each with fears and insecurities that they need to face. The roles are well acted, never going overboard, never boring, never flat. The script by Anders Thomas Jensen is witty, funny, and real. Susanne Bier’s directing is marvelous and there are several picture-perfect postcard moments that remind us how beautiful the world is, how lovely humans are, how love is all the more beautiful when it is gentle, quiet, and kind, and how love is all you really need to get by and overcome all difficulties.

Danish actress Trine Dyrholm as Ida and Pierce Brosnan as Philip have such wonderful chemistry together, and the supporting cast with Kim Bodnia as Ida’s errant husband Leif, Paprika Steen as Philip’s sister-in-law, Molly Blixt Egelind as Astrid, and Sebastian Jessen as Patrick make a wonderful ensemble. I would definitely see this film again—and not just for Pierce Brosnan.


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