Sugar And Spice: Love Is All You Need

Reviews
by Leonard Maltin
May 2, 2013 11:26 PM
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I’m a huge fan of Danish filmmaker Susanne Bier, who has given us Brothers, After the Wedding, and the Oscar-winning In A Better World. These are serious, adult films, so it shouldn’t be surprising that Love is All You Need is not a standard-issue romantic comedy. It’s lighter in tone than her previous work, but Bier and her longtime writing partner Anders Thomas Jensen have woven serious undertones into the fabric of this bittersweet romance.

Pierce Brosnan gives one of his best performances as a hard-shelled businessman, based in Denmark, whose son is about to get married. He and the bride’s mother (Trine Dyrholm, last seen as the jealous Juliane Marie in A Royal Affair) “meet cute” on their way to the nuptials, which are being held at a beautiful villa in Sorrento, Italy that Brosnan boarded up after the untimely death of his wife some years ago. Dyrholm has been battling cancer, without complaint, and all she wants is to see her daughter happy. Brosnan wants the same for his son, but he is a cold man who has an arm’s-length relationship with everyone around him, even his offspring.

In time, we learn more about the leading characters, as well as their star-crossed children, who have every right to be nervous about the upcoming wedding.

While there is no doubt about the outcome for Brosnan and Dyrholm—even in a Susanne Bier movie, a romantic comedy is going to have a happy ending—the path is bumpy, and persuasively delineated. What’s more, Bier gives us rooting interest for these mature characters, while fleshing out her film with interesting subplots and surprises. I can’t speak for younger viewers, but I thoroughly enjoyed this adult version of romantic fluff, set against a sumptuously beautiful backdrop.

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