Love Is All You Need

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Grumpy widower Philip (Brosnan) and life-embracing cancer patient Ida (Dyrholm) meet cute and quarrelsome en route to the wedding of his son and her daughter in Italy, where complications with an amorous sister-in-law (Steen), an errant hubby (Bodnia) and the nuptial countdown draw them together.


In the parade of movies for the mature, this one offers an older man who can stillgive ladies the flutters in Pierce Brosnan, that rare handsome leading man who improves with age, while leading lady Trine Dyrholm (In A Better World, Festen), a Danish Meryl Streep, positively glows. Foreign film Oscar-winner Susanne Bier (In A Better World) tries something in a lighter mood, and an appealing cast hits the sweet spot for the middle-aged and devotees of all things Danish (although this is mostly in English).

Dyrholm’s optimistic, warm-hearted and slightly scatty hairdresser Ida wears a wig because she has lost her own barnet to chemotherapy. She’s just looking forward hopefully after a mastectomy, when she catches her oafish husband (Kim Bodnia, the Copenhagen ’tec in TV’s The Bridge) in flagrante with a beyond-dumb blonde and she tosses him out. But their daughter’s wedding in Sorrento is imminent, so they agree to meet up at the wedding for the family’s sake, she little dreaming he will arrive with the loudly inappropriate bimbo in tow. Meanwhile Brosnan’s import-export entrepreneur, soured inside ever since the death of his Danish wife, sets forth for his long-neglected Italian holiday villa, where the pretty young things (Molly Blixt Egelind and Sebastian Jessen, and they are indeed very pretty) are feverishly readying all for the wedding party and separately gnawing on doubts about getting married.

Both Philip and Ida are vulnerable, see, and need to be, yes, loved. And the shenanigans that escalate around them, the misbehaviour, indiscretions and the bitchiness — scene-stealing Paprika Steen is breathtakingly obnoxious in her desire for Philip — give them cause to reflect on family, love, life and the inviting things they see in each other. All together now — aw.

It’s very Mamma Mia! without ABBA meets Under The Tuscan Sun. Sunny, sweet, with a lovely cast, idyllic locations and fruitfully comic situations. Pleasingly endearing.