Film review: Love Is All You Need - smooth moves from that old devil Pierce Brosnan



Not all drama coming out of Denmark at the moment features moody lighting, troubled police detectives and must-have jumpers.

Love Is All You Need dips a Danish toe into romantic comedy, steeping itself in the sunstruck colours and emollient rhythms of la bella Italia. What's more, it stars Pierce Brosnan as bait for those filmgoers who loved his older-guy moves in Mamma Mia! And the good news for everyone is that he doesn't sing.

He plays morose widower Philip, so committed to his fruit-and-veg business that he says things like "Radishes are the top priority" without expecting to be laughed at. En route to his son's wedding in Italy, his car is accidentally pranged at the airport by a distressed driver. This would be Ida (Trine Dyrholm), a Copenhagen hairdresser still recovering from chemo (her wig poignantly slips post-prang) and the revelation of her husband's infidelity.

Philip is furious but finds himself obliged to companion Ida on the plane once it's established that she's the mother of the girl his son's about to marry. And so we strap ourselves in for a trip to the Amalfi Coast, where Philip has a hilltop house, handsome, romantic yet neglected since his bereavement. Could it possibly be symbolic of something?

There are two surprising aspects to Love Is All You Need. The first is its reluctance to deviate from genre. The characters all come from stock, starting with the bride and groom who are having panicky second thoughts about the forthcoming nuptials. Then there's the brassy sister-in-law (Paprika Steen), who's always fancied Philip and now sees her chance to nail him. And how about Ida's oafish husband (Kim Bodnia), who brings along that blonde bimbette he has been diddling?

The shenanigans that ensue will not tax your powers of prediction. The second, odder surprise is that it's directed by Susanne Bier, whose previous form is built on angsty familial dramas such as Brothers, After the Wedding and In a Better World, which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2011. Set against this CV, the idea of people wandering through lemon groves and skinny-dipping in the bay looks positively frivolous.

True, these two families are enduring some turbulence, but it's all heavily signposted. If you can't work out what's causing the bridegroom his dark night of the soul, then you've probably been asleep. What keeps us on its side is the understated playing of the two leads. Trine Dyrholm, who first came to notice in a very different Danish celebration movie, Festen (1998), has startling indigo eyes that just occasionally brim from the pressure of home and health scares. Yet she has a gentleness of expression that's very disarming.

Brosnan is also good as the working stiff who has never learned to relax, and inches towards sympathy with his weary good manners. And then almost loses it when he savagely denounces one of the guests. It's another instance of the screenplay (by Anders Thomas Jensen) being over-emphatic and not trusting the audience to get it. That goes for the repeated theme song. If you're a bit sick of Dean Martin's "That's Amore", you will hate it by the end of this.

Love Is All You Need plays it safe, right down to the change of title – in Denmark it was called "The Bald Hairdresser" (not great either) – but as a draught of cinematic Ovaltine it goes down quite agreeably.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Arts and Entertainment
Could Ed Sheeran conquer the Seven Kingdoms? He could easily pass for a Greyjoy like Alfie Allen's character (right)

tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce, Boris Johnson, Putin, Nigel Farage, Russell Brand and Andy Murray all get the Spitting Image treatment from Newzoids
tvReview: The sketches need to be very short and very sharp as puppets are not intrinsically funny
Arts and Entertainment
Despite the controversy it caused, Mile Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball' video won multiple awards
musicPoll reveals over 70% of the British public believe sexually explicit music videos should get ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant in the fifth season of Game of Thrones

Arts and Entertainment

book review
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Far Right and Proud: Reggies Yates' Extreme Russia

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West was mobbed in Armenia after jumping into a lake

Arts and Entertainment
The show suffers from its own appeal, being so good as to create an appetite in its viewers that is difficult to sate in a ten episode series

Game of Thrones reviewFirst look at season five contains some spoilers
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench and Kevin Spacey on the Red Carpet for 2015's Olivier Awards

Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awards

Arts and Entertainment
Proving his metal: Ross Poldark (played by Aidan Turner in the BBC series) epitomises the risk-taking spirit of 18th-century mine owners

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne is reportedly favourite to play Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars in dystopian action thriller Mad Max: Fury Road

Arts and Entertainment
Josh, 22, made his first million from the game MinoMonsters

Grace Dent

Channel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Disgraced Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson
Arts and Entertainment
Game face: Zoë Kravitz, Bruce Greenwood and Ethan Hawke in ‘Good Kill’

film review

Arts and Entertainment
Living like there’s no tomorrow: Jon Hamm as Don Draper in the final season of ‘Mad Men’

TV review

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

    Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

    His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
    'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

    Open letter to David Cameron

    Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
    Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

    You don't say!

    Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
    Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

    So what is Mubi?

    Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
    The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

    The hardest job in theatre?

    How to follow Kevin Spacey
    Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

    Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

    To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
    Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

    'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

    The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
    Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

    This human tragedy has been brewing for years

    EU states can't say they were not warned
    Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

    Women's sportswear

    From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
    Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

    Clinton's clothes

    Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders