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Friday, 24 May 2013 00:00

'Love Is All You Need' is quite sufficient

'Love Is All You Need' is quite sufficient
Written by Diane Carson
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Sometimes all that's wanted or needed for a most enjoyable summer movie is a light-hearted romp with serious undercurrents. A strong entry in this category, Danish director Susanne Bier's "Love Is All You Need" boasts a fine international cast of actors showcasing exquisite comic timing while also registering the sting of romantic entanglements, betrayals, and disappointments.

Co-writers Bier and Anders Thomas Jensen take the familiar difficulties of finding a lasting and true love and inject some novel twists and turns, fashioning an engaging story. Beginning in Copenhagen, they immediately signal ironic playfulness as Dean Martin's "That's Amore" accompanies the opening minutes of the film, and they give notice of their unique approach with the central character's introduction. She's Ida, a middle-aged hairdresser just finished with her treatments for breast cancer, arriving home to discover her husband Leif in a compromising position with his young accountant bimbo, blaming his stress and actions on Ida's illness.

The plot takes off from there, literally and figuratively, as Ida heads to Sorrento for daughter Astrid's marriage to Patrick, son of Philip. He's a successful British businessman who returns now, several years after his wife's death, to his beautiful Italian estate overlooking and with access to the Bay of Naples. His sister-in-law, her daughter, and friends will arrive for the wedding with workers involved as well.

It's the cast that sells the tale. As Ida, Trine Dyrholm brings a complex woman to life, complemented nicely by a reserved Pierce Brosnan underplaying his Philip. Husband Leif is broadly played by Kim Bodnia, alternately buffoonish and boorish, though never as explicitly tasteless as Philip's sister-in-law, Paprika Steen. The mix of unusual characters reinvigorates the clichés, transforming what could be tiresome to inventive.

The cinematography feasts on the sunlight, the beautiful landscape, and glorious colors. Fades to black punctuate scenes that maintain, for the most part, a pleasing pace.  As summer fare, it's such a welcome change from maniacs fighting for control or heroes defending the embattled Earth. I felt downright cheerful watching "Love Is All You Need," and that's what a good movie can do. In English and in Danish and Italian with English subtitles. At a Landmark Theatre.

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