Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: Love Is All You Need

Departing her trademark dramas, noted Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier remixes the rom-com in a sparkling cocktail that celebrates the messiness of life.

May 2, 2013

-By Erica Abeel


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1376468-Love_All_Need_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Susanne Bier has a rep for raw, intense dramas—such as her Oscar winner In a Better World—that locate the personal against larger moral or political issues. In her new Love Is All You Need, the filmmaker, working again with writer Anders Thomas Jensen, refreshes the conventions and clichés of the rom-com, bringing to the mix her own European tone of loopy, hopeful and sad. That the film is mainly set on the magical Amalfi coast and features sunsets and lemon groves will further endear it to foreign film buffs in the mood for art-house lite.

Ida, a Danish hairdresser (the luminous Trine Dyrholm) has just emerged from a course of chemo—only to walk in on husband Leif (Kim Bodnia) having sex on the sofa with a young blonde from the accounting department. Ida (pronounced Ee-da) musters a brave front and decides to attend solo the wedding of her daughter Astrid (Molly Blixt Egelind) in a villa in Sorrento. The airport garage hosts a meet-cute melee between Ida and Philip (Pierce Brosnan), a sour Brit tycoon working in Copenhagen. A widower ripe for the plucking, he also happens to be the owner of the villa in Sorrento and father of the bridegroom. This absurd setup might initially put a dent in the viewer's hopes to match the one Ida puts in Philip's shiny fender. The score of pop Italian faves that have long outworn their welcome promises little better.

But wait. Bier's characters are twistier than what usually inhabits the genre. Ida, with her striking platinum tresses, might be unworldly—her son dismisses her as “a simp”—but she's intelligent and charitable, and is comically prone to forgiveness. “My illness put a great strain on him,” she says to justify the boorish behavior of her husband.

Meanwhile, the family members who descend pre-wedding on Philip's villa range from buffoonish to dazed and confused, setting the stage for some LOL moments. Paprika Steen has a fine old time as Philip's sister-in-law, a grasping vulgarian who longs to bag him. Amusingly, her teen daughter virtually crawls under the table every time her mother opens her mouth. Ida's daughter Astrid confesses to mom that her betrothed is “not into me.” A disastrous shakeup at the pre-nuptials blowout proves her right. Boorish Leif gets his comeuppance when his girlfriend, whom he's had the gall to shlep to the wedding, reveals she's in the market for better prospects, including his own son.

At the center of this imploding family affair are Ida and Philip. Inevitably, as the genre insists, they knit together, courting in the lemon grove, his inner grouch melting under the shine of her gaze. “I'm sorry we're such a crazy family,” Ida tells Philip. Earlier on, a somber note is injected into the craziness when Philip stumbles on Ida skinny-dipping. She emerges from the sea a bald Venus, her blonde wig tossed on the beach towel like an animal pelt. What's hard to imagine in a traditional rom-com is the use of such a moment as a first stage of amorous interest.

Mortality has figured in Bier's previous dramas, notably in After the Wedding, which features an indelible tirade against the dying of the light. Her originality in Love is to weave the specter of illness into a family comedy so it glistens like dark iridescence over all the high-jinks. Brosnan, for whom the word debonair was invented, makes a fine foil for Dyrholm, an actress with riveting round blue eyes that mirror decency and courage. At moments she appears to channel the great Giulietta Masina as Gelsomina in La Strada. Viewers can't help but root for Dyrholm's Ida and her pursuit of happiness in this sparkling cocktail of a rom-com edged in darkness.



Film Review: Love Is All You Need

Departing her trademark dramas, noted Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier remixes the rom-com in a sparkling cocktail that celebrates the messiness of life.

May 2, 2013

-By Erica Abeel


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1376468-Love_All_Need_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Susanne Bier has a rep for raw, intense dramas—such as her Oscar winner In a Better World—that locate the personal against larger moral or political issues. In her new Love Is All You Need, the filmmaker, working again with writer Anders Thomas Jensen, refreshes the conventions and clichés of the rom-com, bringing to the mix her own European tone of loopy, hopeful and sad. That the film is mainly set on the magical Amalfi coast and features sunsets and lemon groves will further endear it to foreign film buffs in the mood for art-house lite.

Ida, a Danish hairdresser (the luminous Trine Dyrholm) has just emerged from a course of chemo—only to walk in on husband Leif (Kim Bodnia) having sex on the sofa with a young blonde from the accounting department. Ida (pronounced Ee-da) musters a brave front and decides to attend solo the wedding of her daughter Astrid (Molly Blixt Egelind) in a villa in Sorrento. The airport garage hosts a meet-cute melee between Ida and Philip (Pierce Brosnan), a sour Brit tycoon working in Copenhagen. A widower ripe for the plucking, he also happens to be the owner of the villa in Sorrento and father of the bridegroom. This absurd setup might initially put a dent in the viewer's hopes to match the one Ida puts in Philip's shiny fender. The score of pop Italian faves that have long outworn their welcome promises little better.

But wait. Bier's characters are twistier than what usually inhabits the genre. Ida, with her striking platinum tresses, might be unworldly—her son dismisses her as “a simp”—but she's intelligent and charitable, and is comically prone to forgiveness. “My illness put a great strain on him,” she says to justify the boorish behavior of her husband.

Meanwhile, the family members who descend pre-wedding on Philip's villa range from buffoonish to dazed and confused, setting the stage for some LOL moments. Paprika Steen has a fine old time as Philip's sister-in-law, a grasping vulgarian who longs to bag him. Amusingly, her teen daughter virtually crawls under the table every time her mother opens her mouth. Ida's daughter Astrid confesses to mom that her betrothed is “not into me.” A disastrous shakeup at the pre-nuptials blowout proves her right. Boorish Leif gets his comeuppance when his girlfriend, whom he's had the gall to shlep to the wedding, reveals she's in the market for better prospects, including his own son.

At the center of this imploding family affair are Ida and Philip. Inevitably, as the genre insists, they knit together, courting in the lemon grove, his inner grouch melting under the shine of her gaze. “I'm sorry we're such a crazy family,” Ida tells Philip. Earlier on, a somber note is injected into the craziness when Philip stumbles on Ida skinny-dipping. She emerges from the sea a bald Venus, her blonde wig tossed on the beach towel like an animal pelt. What's hard to imagine in a traditional rom-com is the use of such a moment as a first stage of amorous interest.

Mortality has figured in Bier's previous dramas, notably in After the Wedding, which features an indelible tirade against the dying of the light. Her originality in Love is to weave the specter of illness into a family comedy so it glistens like dark iridescence over all the high-jinks. Brosnan, for whom the word debonair was invented, makes a fine foil for Dyrholm, an actress with riveting round blue eyes that mirror decency and courage. At moments she appears to channel the great Giulietta Masina as Gelsomina in La Strada. Viewers can't help but root for Dyrholm's Ida and her pursuit of happiness in this sparkling cocktail of a rom-com edged in darkness.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

PK
Film Review: PK

An alien trying to return home tangles with religious authorities in a low-key Bollywood message drama. More »

A Small Section
Film Review: A Small Section of the World

Worthy but uninvolving documentary about the coffee-producing women of Costa Rica. More »

Sagrada
Film Review: Sagrada: The Mystery of Creation

The fabulous 130-year work-in-progress that is Barcelona's Sagrada Familia cathedral, as well as its crazy-brilliant originator, Antonio Gaudi, is the focus of this vividly informative documentary. More »

Inside the Mind of Leonardo
Film Review: Inside the Mind of Leonardo in 3D

Documentary-feature hybrid that offers unexpected insight into the world of Leonardo da Vinci, but nonetheless suffers from a heavy hand and pretentious sensibility. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Into the Woods
Film Review: Into the Woods

Over-scaled, too dark and only intermittently charming Sondheim musical adaptation does a disservice to a great cast and is often so noisy you can't even appreciate the music. More »

The H obbit: The Battle of the Five Armies
Film Review: The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

After rewriting the rules for modern fantasy cinema, for the better and worse, Peter Jackson’s six-film Tolkien saga slams, bangs and shudders to a long-overdue conclusion. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here