Love Is All You Need – Review

Heart Stamped Hand

The 53-year-old Susanne Bier, daughter of Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany, is a deeply serious Danish film-maker whose contrived, often melodramatic plots frequently involve troubled families, transactions with developing countries in Africa and Asia, cancer, widows and widowers.

One of them, Brothers, about the destruction of a marriage as a result of the husband's captivity in Afghanistan, was remade in America by Jim Sheridan, where Bier worked on the lachrymose Things We Lost in the Fire, and In a Better World won an Oscar as best foreign language film.

Her good-looking Love is All You Need is lighter in tone and kicks off with a couple in their late 40s meeting cute when she crashes into his car at Copenhagen airport. Characteristically, however, she's Ida (Trine Dyrholm), whose weaselly husband has been cheating on her while she's being treated for cancer; he's workaholic widower Philip (Pierce Brosnan), a wealthy importer of fruit and vegetables. Having never previously met, they're on their way to the wedding on the Amalfi coast of his son and her daughter.

The characters are familiar social types, none too well conceived, and there is an almost painful lack of subtlety in the writing and performances, possibly because most of the script is in English. There is little electricity or chemistry between Dyrholm and Brosnan, and the overall effects suggest a combination of two family films with Scandinavian connections, Festen without the cruelty and Mamma Mia! without the music. As for the title – it wasn't when the Beatles repeatedly sang the line on a worldwide TV link in 1967, and it isn't now.

Powered by article was written by Philip French, for The Observer on Sunday 21st April 2013 00.04 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010