Film review: Love Is All You Need (15)

Tender emotions kindled in Italian sunshine

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The Independent Culture

Taking a well-earned holiday from Oscar-baiting melodramas such as 2010's In a Better World, Susanne Bier has made a breezy bilingual romantic comedy, with a colour palette of deep azure and bright sunshine, set during the preparations for a wedding in a lemon grove on the Italian coast.

The wedding is between starry-eyed optimist Astrid (Molly Blixt Egelind) and serious minded Patrick (Sebastian Jessen), but the film's focus is on the mother of the bride, Ida (Trine Dryholm), and father of the groom, Philip (Pierce Brosnan).

Ida is a Danish hairdresser whose sunny disposition is all the more remarkable for the fact that she is fighting off breast cancer, and that her husband Lief (Kim Bodnia) has been using her stays in hospital as an opportunity to carry on with the bimbo-ish Tilde in accounting (Christiane Schaumburg-Müller).

Patrick, on the other hand, is a rich but unhappy English widower who has closed himself off to life's pleasures – human warmth and companionship included – since the death of his wife.

It is no surprise that Ida is able to warm Patrick's heart: not only because all of the narrative's different comings together and apart are actually rather easy to see coming, but because Dryholm gives a terrifically genuine and natural comic performance and Ida is a wonderfully endearing character.

Love Is All You Need is predictable without being manipulative, sweet without being sentimental, and as inconsequential but life-affirming as a holiday romance should be.