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Love is All You Need (9/10)

by Tony Medley

Runtime 110 minutes.

OK for children.

This is a terrific film about two lonely, vulnerable, middle-aged people and the emotions they go through when they both travel, separately, to Italy for the marriage of their children to one another. The acting by Pierce Brosnan and Trine Dryholm is nothing short of spectacular. However, despite the title, this has nothing to do with The Beatles (whose song was entitled, All You Need is Love).

Directed by Susanne Bier from a story by Bier and Anders Thomas Jensen, who wrote the screenplay, this is a tender, sensitive, romantic film that also presents terrific shots of Sorrento by director of photography Morten Søborg and music by composer Johan Söderqvist that is at once lighthearted and magical, and also touching and affective. Dean Martin’s 1953 megahit That’s Amore is played throughout enhancing the romance. It’s the rare film that gets me to laugh and cry within the space of 110 minutes.

40 year-old Dryholm gives an award–quality performance as a woman battling cancer, dealing with a cheating husband, all the while being a good, understanding mother to her two children and flashing one of the best smiles on film. I have rarely seen a performance as good as the one she gives here. But that should not be too surprising, as she appeared in the best movie I saw last year, A Royal Affair. After Alec Baldwin saw her in Troubled Water (2008), he called her the best actress ever. After seeing her performance here, I cannot disagree with him.

After decades as an actor, Brosnan reaches his peak with this role. He’s wasted his time with a lot of junk, like being a not very convincing James Bond, participating in a horrible cast in Mamma Mia, and he was as horrible in that as everybody else. But occasionally, I should say rarely, he has branched out and taken roles that require talent and range. He was good in The Ghost Writer (2010) and much better in The Matador (also 2010). But here he reaches his zenith.

The supporting cast is equally good. Paprika Steen is convincing as Brosnan’s hateful sister-in-law. Kim Bodnia is Dryholm’s equally unappealing husband. Sebastian Jessen is a Hugh Grant look-alike as Brosnan’s son. Molly Blixt Egelind and Christiane Schaumburg-Müller round out the cast giving good performances as Dryholm’s daughter and Bodia’s mistress, respectively.

This movie has several twists and turns, but it proceeds apace and, like most good films, it’s best seen not knowing much about what’s going to happen. 110 minutes might sound like a long time for a film like this, but the time never dragged for me. In English, Danish, and Italian.

April 15, 2013