Danish auteur Susanne Bier is best known for turning out award-courting, art-house fare such as her 2010 Oscar-winner In a Better World. She’s let her hair down, though, with Love Is All You Need, a crowd-pleasing romantic comedy-drama revolving around a sun-kissed summer wedding on Italy’s Amalfi Coast.
The bride and groom’s rocky progress towards the altar provides one plot strand, but it’s the bride’s mother and groom’s father who are the film’s romantic leads. The pair literally bump into each other on the way to the wedding when Copenhagen hairdresser Ida (Trine Dyrholm) prangs her vehicle into the car being driven by fruit-and-veg tycoon (Pierce Brosnan) while parking at the airport.
She’s recovering from breast cancer and also reeling from the more recent blow of her husband’s infidelity; he’s a workaholic widower who still hasn’t got over his wife’s death. Once they get to his splendid Sorrento villa, the venue for the wedding, there’s more embarrassment in store – much of it provided by Ida’s crass husband (Kim Bodnia), who has his much-younger mistress in tow, and by Philip’s overbearing sister-in-law (Paprika Steen), who is keen to snare him for herself. Yet slowly but surely the two draw closer together and fall in love.
We’ve seen Brosnan playing middle-aged totty in a Mediterranean setting before, of course; all that’s missing this time is the Abba songs. But Love Is All You Need isn’t a Mamma Mia! remix, even if the plot does run on predictable rom-com lines.
Bier doesn’t have a sure feel for comedy and real laughs are in short supply, but she is good at drawing out her lovers’ hurt and awkwardness, which makes it easy to root for the happiness of Dyrholm and Brosnan’s couple.
In cinemas from Friday 19th April.
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