Review: Love Is All You Need
The families of a young couple gather in Italy at the villa of the groom’s father Philip for an intimate wedding. En route, the bride’s mother, a hair dresser being treated for cancer by the name of Ida, learns her husband is having an affair. The philanderer decides to bring his young bimbo to the wedding, and that’s just one half the drama, as curmudgeonly widower Philip catches the eye of Ida, while trying to be a decent father and deal with his annoying sister-in-law.
Who’s in It?
Pierce Brosnan is wonderful as Philip and ever so much fun to watch in each and every scene. Trine Dyrholm is Ida, giving herself to the audience emotionally and physically. Some very funny Danes and Italians round out the cast in this delightful love story.
It’s really funny! And heartwarming. Trust me. It’s a story that sounds familiar, but is not what you expect (despite starring Pierce, and being about families uniting on the Mediterranean for a young blonde’s wedding, it’s not Mamma Mia!). It is so beautifully and smartly executed and filled with such authenticity that you can’t help but be charmed by this lovely Danish romantic comedy.
What sets this apart from so much pandering drivel in the genre is that these characters are fully fleshed out. They seem relatable, they are vulnerable, and they are at times confused, but they are not helpless or pathetic. Philip resists dating ever since his wife passed. Ida is stuck in a quaint, predictable marriage, albeit less so when her husband is found on the couch with a girl from work. Their children, meanwhile, are rushing to elope after three months of marriage.
Ida runs into Philip quite literally on the way to Italy, an inauspicious first meeting to be sure. Their destination is Philip’s vast orchard, a beautiful getaway that has served to vault Philip into financial success as a fruit and vegetable salesman (he doesn’t quite understand what it means to be a hairdresser). While romance runs throughout the film as some relationships blossom, and some are broken, what we see are characters looking for approval, from fathers, from partners, and from themselves.
What unfolds is not entirely predictable, and not at all burdened by clichés. This is not about old people falling down (The Big Wedding), or about some hunk of a suburban single dad (Playing for Keeps), or about a series of sexual misadventures (everything else that is awful about this genre), and this is not one of those things where everyone ends up with their ideal life (just about everything, including the aforementioned).
It’s genuine and simple, funny and awkward, and Brosnan is superb throughout, playing one of many characters that are layered and thoughtful. The Danish get it; Love is All You Need is adult, honest, at times challenging, and incredibly winning. It also helps to have a beautiful setting – Italy is looking pretty wonderful right about now.
Should You See It?
Absolutely, screw Star Trek and Iron Man !
Shouting orders to his staff on a phone in the airport, with Ida listening in. Phillip: “Radishes are top priority! Above everything else!”