¨I really don´t understand why anybody would work for you when you are so awful.¨
I really don’t understand why Academy Award winner, Susanne Bier, chose a character so unlikeable to play the lead romantic role in this film. Pierce Brosnan plays this really awful and hateful lead character that is upset at the world, but ends up falling in love with a recovering Cancer patient played by Trine Dyrholm. The two seem like complete opposites, but end up falling for each other after the film magically transforms this unlikeable character into a somewhat sentimental one. I really hated the first half of this film, but once Brosnan´s character became more human the film really picks up and has a strong and emotional second half. The second part is what makes this film worth the while and where Susanne Bier´s magic reappears. This is perhaps her weakest effort after having directed Brothers and In a Better World, two films which I really enjoyed. The Danish director combines some elements from her homeland as well as a touch of British and Italian, but the real problem with this romantic comedy has to do with the pacing of the film. The screenplay was written by Bier and Anders Thomas Jensen who had also worked with her in her previous productions. Love is All You Need doesn’t really live up to their prior work, but it still is a decent comedy that works better in the second half. The Danish title translates to The Bald Hairdresser, but the English title works a lot better. This was a bit of a disappointment for me despite feeling a connection towards the end, but I expect much more from Bier´s upcoming film, Serena, staring Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence.
Ida (Trine Dyrholm) is a hairdresser who has lost her hair after battling with cancer, and at the same time has found out her husband (Kim Bodnia) is having an affair with his accountant. She finds some comfort in her daughter, Astrid (Molly Blixt Egelind), who is getting married with Patrick (Sebastian Jessen) as she travels to Italy for the wedding reception. At the reception she meets Philip (Pierce Brosnan), a successful widowed businessman who is angry at life. Philip is Patrick´s father and he falls in love with Ida´s charm and goodness. She reminds him a lot of his wife and the two spend a lot of time together while their children are getting ready for the wedding. At the same time Astrid feels like Patrick is having second thoughts about the marriage after feeling him very distant the last few days. Conflicts arise at the beautiful and romantic Italian seaside villa as we get closer and closer to the ceremony.
Susanne Bier has made some great dramatic films, but here she falls a little short with this romantic comedy. It has its touching and emotional moments, but the pacing of the film really doesn’t help. She does manage to deal with the complexities of life and love, but in doing so she does make this movie a little more complex than it should be for a romantic comedy. Trine Dyrholm is a delight on screen and she gets much more screen time here than in A Better World. Pierce Brosnan does what he can with his character, but he is so unlikeable at the beginning of the film that it is really hard to cheer for him. It´s hard not to fall in love with the beautiful Italian cinematography and it really adds to the romantic atmosphere. Kim Bodnia, playing the unfaithful husband also adds to the comedy. The young couple has very little chemistry with each other, but we see why during the second half of the film. Despite all my complaints it’s hard not to leave with a smile by the time the credits begin rolling. If you can get through the painful first half of the film you might actually enjoy this film.