Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
First Look: Emilia Clarke, Matt Smith & Jason Clarke In 'Terminator: Genisys,' Plot Details Revealed First Look: Emilia Clarke, Matt Smith & Jason Clarke In 'Terminator: Genisys,' Plot Details Revealed Marvel Announces 'Black Panther,' 'Captain Marvel,' Two-Part 'Avengers: Infinity War' And More Marvel Announces 'Black Panther,' 'Captain Marvel,' Two-Part 'Avengers: Infinity War' And More 8 Films That Influenced Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' 8 Films That Influenced Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Exclusive: Sean Durkin Directed Video For Sharon Van Etten's "Your Love Is Killing Me" Exclusive: Sean Durkin Directed Video For Sharon Van Etten's "Your Love Is Killing Me" Listen: 1-Hour Masterclass With Paul Thomas Anderson At The New York Film Festival Listen: 1-Hour Masterclass With Paul Thomas Anderson At The New York Film Festival Benedict Cumberbatch Is Marvel's 'Doctor Strange' Benedict Cumberbatch Is Marvel's 'Doctor Strange' Review: Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Starring Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway & More Review: Christopher Nolan's 'Interstellar' Starring Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Anne Hathaway & More Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Series Finale — Season 5, Episode 8 ‘Eldorado’ Recap: 'Boardwalk Empire' Series Finale — Season 5, Episode 8 ‘Eldorado’ Watch: A Twisted Jake Gyllenhaal Crosses The Line In Wicked Red Band Trailer For ‘Nightcrawler’ Watch: A Twisted Jake Gyllenhaal Crosses The Line In Wicked Red Band Trailer For ‘Nightcrawler’ Watch: 'The Invisible Man,' A 50-Minute Documentary On The Life And Career Of Stanley Kubrick Watch: 'The Invisible Man,' A 50-Minute Documentary On The Life And Career Of Stanley Kubrick Seth Rogen, Megan Fox, Will Ferrell, Danny McBride, Dave Franco And More Join James Franco’s 'Zeroville' Seth Rogen, Megan Fox, Will Ferrell, Danny McBride, Dave Franco And More Join James Franco’s 'Zeroville' 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' Will Conclude With A 45-Minute Battle Sequence 'The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies' Will Conclude With A 45-Minute Battle Sequence 10 Great Self-Absorbed, Narcissistic Movie Assholes 10 Great Self-Absorbed, Narcissistic Movie Assholes Kristen Stewart Says She's Taking "Time Off" From Acting To Pursue Other "Creative Endeavors" Kristen Stewart Says She's Taking "Time Off" From Acting To Pursue Other "Creative Endeavors" Watch: Zach Galifianakis Takes On Brad Pitt In Latest 'Between Two Ferns' Plus Louis C.K. Stops By Watch: Zach Galifianakis Takes On Brad Pitt In Latest 'Between Two Ferns' Plus Louis C.K. Stops By Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The Best Documentaries Of 2014 So Far The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The Best Films Of 2014 So Far... The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes The 10 Best & Worst Movie Sex Scenes

Review: Overstuffed 'Love Is All You Need' An Unsatisfying, Predictable Rom-Com From Susanne Bier

The Playlist By Erik McClanahan | The Playlist April 25, 2013 at 7:00PM

What’s up with those crazy Danish filmmakers and their compulsion to pile it on? The latest from Oscar-winning filmmaker Susanne Bier (“In A Better World”) is like watching a long game of Jenga. As every sub plot, reveal and character… err, caricature that is, gets stacked on top of each other, the more inevitable it is that the whole thing will come tumbling down. And while “Love is All You Need” is by no means a disaster, it simply can’t support all that weight.
1
All You Need Is Love Pierce Brosnan

What’s up with those crazy Danish filmmakers and their compulsion to pile it on? The latest from Oscar-winning filmmaker Susanne Bier (“In A Better World”) is like watching a long game of Jenga. As every sub plot, reveal and character… err, caricature that is, gets stacked on top of each other, the more inevitable it is that the whole thing will come tumbling down. And while “Love is All You Need” is by no means a disaster, it simply can’t support all that weight.

The foundation is built upon a familiar romantic comedy fixture: a wedding. Early in the film, we see soon-to-be newlyweds Astrid (Molly Blixt Egelind) and Patrick (Sebastian Jessen) roaming around a beautifully rustic Italian villa that is to be the setting for their special day. And before this plot rundown goes any further, it has to be noted that the film’s location is its highlight. Cinematographer Morten Soborg makes the most out of Sorrento’s beautiful coastal views and green vistas, soaking the frame in golden sunshine that manages to make this over-the-top, beautiful cast look like the Garbage Pail Kids by comparison.

All You Need Is Love

Patrick isn’t happy that this villa, owned by his father (played nicely by Pierce Brosnan), has no furniture and needs a good cleaning. This sense of crybaby entitlement is at first frustrating and alien to those of us who don’t know such privilege, but alas, the young lovers, spurred by Astrid’s appreciation and proactive demeanor, fix the place up before their guests arrive. At the same time, Astrid’s mother Ida (Trine Dyrholm) receives pretty good news. She’s survived a bout with breast cancer, for now, but it could always come back, her doctor informs. Brosnan’s Philip is a long-widowed workaholic prone to declaring what should be inferred quite easily by simply watching the movie. “I’ve chosen to be alone,” he says bluntly to a co-worker who hits on him.

And therein lies another issue with Bier and frequent screenwriting collaborator Anders Thomas Jensen’s work on this film: they don’t trust the audience enough to simply watch the damn film and figure out these characters. But that’s not half as annoying as the bursting-at-the-seams plot filled with too many broadly drawn, idiotic characters that do things only annoying people in movies do to complicate things. The organic buildup and carefully revealed layers in the excellent “After the Wedding” is sorely missing in this admittedly much lighter project.

All You Need Is Love

Things get more ridiculous before the wedding even starts. After Ida catches her husband -- played by the always welcome, potbellied Kim Bodnia (“Pusher”), who never found a slime ball he couldn’t make compelling on screen, until now -- cheating with a much younger and blonder woman, he decides to bring his new lady to the wedding. Why? Don’t ask him or his new fling, because they’re oblivious as to why this would be a problem. There came a point where this writer wondered, what planet are these people from?

There’s more. Philip meets Ida after she crashes into his car. They fly together. She thinks he’s mean, he finds her annoying. How do you think this will play out in the end? If you’re guessing that it ends in a hail of bullets, then you’re not paying close enough attention (though that would be more satisfying). There’s even more, like the awful sister-in-law who crushes on Philip. And then there’s a rather obvious twist regarding Patrick that comes out on the day of the wedding.

It’s almost admirable that Bier could cram all these threads into a two-hour movie, since there’s an entire season’s worth of a television show packed in to “Love is All You Need.” It’s as if Bier doesn’t trust that the audience will buy into these pretty, rich, white people’s problems, so she throws as much as she can against the narrative wall. This just ends up diminishing the stakes, even if Brosnan is rather good in a role perfectly suited for his icy charm. Even the very privileged have legitimate struggles worth dramatizing, but this film fails to convince.  [C-]

This is a reprint of our review from the Vancouver International Film Festival.

This article is related to: Love Is All You Need, Reviews, Review, Susanne Bier, Pierce Brosnan


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates