Trine Dyrholm as Ida and Pierce Brosnan as Philip in Love Is All You Need.
By Simon Miraudo
December 11, 2012
Susanne Bier's Love Is All You Need is so relentlessly unremarkable it might sit as the precise median on a chart of all films ever released, edging out the equally average Marley and Me. There is nothing particularly bad about it, yet absolutely nothing special to earn a recommendation. The only thing attention-grabbing about the picture is how out-of-place it seems sandwiched between melodramas Brothers, After the Wedding, and the Oscar winning In A Better World on Bier's filmography. This cutesy rom-com shares the broken familial relationships of those flicks, and little else. Love Is All You Need is just another generic European jaunt; a little bit farcical, a lot romantic, and totally predictable. It even opens to the strains of Dean Martin's That's Amore, as if it daren't feature one element remotely new or exciting.
Trine Dyrholm stars as Ida, a Danish cancer survivor who comes home one day to discover her husband, Leif (Kim Bodnia), in the throes of passion with his workmate Tilde (Christiane Schaumburg-Muller). The timing couldn't be worse. Sure, her chemo treatments have concluded, but doctors warn of relapse. They're also about to head to Italy to witness the marriage of their daughter Astrid (Molly Blixt Egelind) to Patrick (Sebastian Jessen). If Ida had her way, she'd forgive, forget, and avoid all the awkwardness. However, Leif wants to marry Tilde, and he brings her along to the festivities, much to everyone's annoyance. Don't feel too bad for Ida, though; Patrick's irascible, work-obsessed, and widowed father Philip has taken a fancy to her, despite a bumpy first impression (when she, quite literally, bumped into his Bentley with her VW). Also, he's played by Pierce Brosnan, so, you know, that's certainly an upgrade on frumpy old Leif.
Dyrholm and Brosnan make for a charming duo, and their scenes together are nice enough. Still, we all know where they're headed. It's practically an inevitability from the moment they crash cars. Better romantic dramas and comedies have blinded audiences to such obvious pairings with genuine conflict, or brilliant wit, or a collection of entertaining ancillary characters. Not even the disastrous pre-wedding party - in which so many secrets are spilled - is triumphant or cringe-worthy enough to make what comes before it seem worthwhile enduring.
Originally titled The Bald Hairdresser - on account of Ida's lack of hair and her ironic vocation - Love Is All You Need is a far more appropriate title. It is cloying, barely distinguishable from 1000 other movies with similar designations, and bereft of character. The Bald Hairdresser may have given further insight into its actual contents, but Love Is All You Need is as ordinary a label as the product its selling. I literally have nothing else to say. Obviously, I'm giving it two and a half stars.
Love Is All You Need will be available on Quickflix from August 21, 2013.