Rom-com rules out all the usual rubric
Title: Love is All You Need
Director: Susanne Bier
Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier deservedly won the 2012 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film for In a Better World, but prior to that, and often in league with screenwriter Anders Thomas Jensen, she has created a series of outstanding dramatic movies with a notable social consciousness; these include Brothers, After the Wedding, Open Hearts and Things We Lost in the Fire. So Love is All You Need is a considerable change of direction for both Biers and Jensen. It is certainly Bier's most commercially targeted movie, it is a romantic comedy, and it's a feelgood film that is both touching and engaging.
However Love is All You Need is not just another Hollywooden styled rom-com. While it could well be seen as an attraction for the mature audience which flocked to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, in many ways this is a more interesting movie; it features a number of fine performances from its diverse younger and older cast, all of whom have issues pouring out of them, and it blends an absorbing mix of English/American and Danish elements in the beautiful setting of Sorrento and the Amalfi coast.
Ida (Trine Dyrholm) has just completed a chemotherapy treatment for cancer when she finds her boorish husband Leif (Kim Bodnia) having an affair with a young employee. Then on the way to her daughter's wedding in Italy she has an unfortunate and testy meeting with Philip (Pierce Brosnan), unaware that they're both heading to the wedding of their respective children. Philip is a fairly brusque businessman based in Copenhagen who is also a grieving widower.
The wedding of Patrick (Sebastian Jensen) and Astrid (Molly Blixt Egelind) is quite a messy affair, with Patrick seemingly attracted to one of the local lads (Ciro Petrone), together with the arrival of Leif and his mistress, and then there's the antics of Philip's cougarish sister-in-law Benedikte (Paprika Steen) who steals every scene.
Dyrholm gives a most luminous performance as Ida, and this is probably Brosnan's best role. All the characters are believable, and while the story could easily become corny, it doesn't. There are no clichés here and both the humour and the angst pour out of the players. This is a joyful and bittersweet crowd pleasing story with a twist.
Love is All You Need will be screened at Star Court Theatre Lismore on Friday Jan 18 at 7.30pm, and at Bush Theatre Nimbin on Fri 18 and Sat 19 Jan at 7.30pm.