Love Is All You Need
3.5/5 Den Skaldede Frisør
dir Susanne Bier
scr Anders Thomas Jensen
prd Sisse Graum Jorgensen, Vibeke Windelov
with Pierce Brosnan, Trine Dyrholm, Paprika Steen, Kim Bodnia, Sebastian Jessen, Molly Blixt Egelind, Christiane Schaumburg-Muller, Ciro Petrone, Micky Skeel Hansen, Marco D'Amore, Frederikke Thomassen, Bodil Jorgensen
release Den 6.Sep.12, UK 19.Apr.13,
US 3.May.13
12/Denmark 1h56
Love Is All You Need
Stop and smell the roses: Brosnan and Dyrholm

steen bodnia bier

R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Love Is All You Need This romance's gentle tone may only appeal to a certain segment of filmgoers, but it's an enjoyable love story about middle-aged people who have been beaten up by various events in their lives. And while it's not particularly original or surprising, it still makes us sigh.

In Copenhagen, hairdresser Ida (Dyrholm) has just finished cancer treatment when she catches her husband Leif (Bodnia) sleeping with a young employee (Schaumburg-Miller). Then their son (Hansen) heads off to war a few days before they travel to Italy for the marriage of their daughter Astrid (Egelind) to Patrick (Jessen). At the airport, Ida has an unlucky run-in with Patrick's dad Philip (Brosnan), whose only focus has been work since his wife died. But he's being pursued by his aggressive sister-in-law Benedikte (Steen), who has her own agenda for this wedding holiday.

Yes, the film is like Mamma Mia without the music, as these people gather on an idyllic Italian island for marital farce and smiley romance. The movie's Danish title translates as The Bald Hairdresser, which actually gives the film a slightly more interesting kick and reflects Bier's approach to the narrative, as she lets various plot strands vanish in the dazzling sunlight while focussing in on Ida's personal journey.

This askance approach helps make the film more watchable than it would have been with a more traditional, sentimental tone. And it also lets the actors find unusual notes along the way, stirring tetchy edginess underneath the comical surfaces. We can see some emotional pain under the superficial smiles, which is the story's real theme as everyone is forced to look past outward appearances and be honest with each other.

So it's a shame that the plot's so predictable. Every twist in the story is signposted early on, so nothing catches us off-guard. Astrid and Patrick's wedding may have brought everyone together for this fateful weekend, but their own journey feels loosely tacked on, and strangely unsatisfying for the themes it involves. But scenes between Brosnan and Dyrholm are beautifully played, with real moments of emotion. So even if the film never breaks out, it still make us feel warm and happy.

cert 15 themes, language, some sexuality 21.Jan.13

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© 2013 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall