Trying to find a new angle on the modern romantic comedy is difficult. Adapting a tried and tested formula for an increasingly cynical audience, while trying to remind people that romance is not an impossible feat, seems to become more of a challenge every year. However, it seems a simple way to refresh the genre is to mix things up…linguistically.
Love Is All You Need (original title: Den Skaldede Frisør) sees Ida (Trine Dyrholm), a recent cancer survivor who discovers her husband cheating on her. While on her way to attend her daughter’s wedding in Italy, she meets pessimistic widower Philip (Pierce Bosnan), who coincidentally is travelling to the same wedding. Confusion, conflict and romance arise.
Already differentiating itself from the farfetched, overwhelmingly impossible romance films gracing our screens in recent years, Love Is All You Need presents itself as a more mature and sophisticated feature. Shot in idyllic Italy, director Susanne Bier doesn’t try to delve too much into the picturesque city and landscapes, choosing to concentrate on the simple emotions transpired in between the different relationships – think Love Actually without as many complications.
With the action taking place in a number of languages (Danish, English and Italian) and locations, the dynamic of the plot brings a sense of multicultural flair – appealing to those who need something different with the accustomed romance – but certain aspects throw the balance of the film slightly off-centre. As much as we would like to know slightly more about the story of young lovers Patrick and Astrid (Sebastian Jessen and Molly Blixt Egelind respectively), along with the background of interfering Benedikte (Paprika Sheen), the focus is on the touching tale between Philip and Ida.
The leads are wonderful to watch – graceful and charismatic. Although occasionally dithering, Brosnan is determined not to fall into that stereotypical male British lead of all awkwardness and no heart. Dyrholm is emotionally touching and gives a sensitive performance as the unfortunate Ida; though her character’s mishaps may induce a sense of empathy, she doesn’t come across that way, making her more of an engaging character.
Love Is All You Need is a different strand of romantic comedy that has been missing for some time; sweet, heartwarming and utterly dysfunctional.
Love Is All You Need is out in UK cinemas on Friday 19th April.
Director: Susanne Bier
Stars: Pierce Brosnan, Trine Dyrholm, Kim Bodnia
Runtime: 116 min
Country: Denmark, Sweden, Italy, France, Germany