Love Is All You Need (2013)


When John and Paul wrote this little number, you can totally tell that they had James Bond in mind.

Ida (Trine Dyrholm) doesn’t have the most successful life any person could dream of; she’s battling cancer, has a philandering husband, and is a hairdresser. However, she somehow finds a way to approach life with a smile no matter what, and this weekend, will be no different, especially considering because her daughter is getting married. But it’s getting hard for Ida as she soon approaches the date, that is, until she meets the groom’s father, Philip (Pierce Brosnan), who isn’t the nicest, nor the happiest guy in all of the land, yet, has more going for him in terms of Ida. Somehow, someway, these two connect over the weekend in ways none of them ever expected.

Movies about older-people getting married and re-discovering life once again, never seems to interest me, unless it’s done right. However, it rarely is. Movies like Quartet and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel are perfect examples in the way that they are way too cute, cuddly, and modest for it’s own good. They show the older-peeps as a bunch of play-toys that say witty and silly things. But why? Oh, it’s all because they’re old! I get it! But this isn’t one of those movies and that’s why it’s one of the biggest surprises I’ve been hit so far with this year.

What starts out as a pretty simple, romantic-dramedy, soon turns into a movie that actually has more meaning than I expected, especially with it’s attention to characters and what makes us love life, the way that we usually do. Susanne Bier is very-talented in that way, because she’s not only able to show us our two, main characters at hand, but give us everybody else’s story as well. Some of it seems over-stuffed and random at points, but it all makes sense in the grander scheme of things, especially when it gets rather soapy by the end. But even then, Bier keeps it moving and never for a second manipulative.

"Would you prefer your martini, shaken or stirred?"
“Would you prefer your martini, shaken or stirred?”

In this movie, you actually care for the people you are watching and hope that they all find their special someone one of these days. Even the philandering husband that’s a huge tool and idiot; yeah, you want him to be happy because you know that underneath all of the sleeping-around, the guy just wants to love and be loved. Hence the title. It all sounds cloying and obvious, but when a film is able to give you the love bug as quick as people fall in love in a Nicholas Sparks novel (for all of you non-readers out there; that’s pretty quick), then you have a simple man, at a simple time in his life, smiling and feeling hopeful for the future. It will put a big smile on your  face, even if you don’t know how and why. You just feel it and that’s the simple joy of life.

God, I need to get myself a girlfriend and stop ordering Vietnamese prostitutes. Been too long.

The only times this movie seems to really lose it’s audience is when it decides to pack more than it can actually handle. The movie may be advertised as being all about Philip and Ida finding one another, connecting, and falling in love, but they are only the anchors of the story. There’s probably about four or five different story-lines going on at once and even though all are interesting, some do feel like they are a tad bit unnecessary, as if Bier felt like she needed to give everybody some sort of meaning and importance to the idea of love.

The most obvious example of this is the soon-to-be-wed couple at the center of the story. From the first moment we see these two, we think that they are perfect together, happy, hopeful for the future, and ready to get hitched as soon as possible. That is, until the movie starts to unearth some unsettling truths behind one of these characters, ones I will not choose to give away, but still feels unneeded. Not just because it added a twist to the central theme and story, but because it’s obvious right from day one about what the hell is going on underneath the sheets (or lack thereof). Even after the truth is unearthed about this one character, the movie explains and focuses on it a bit too much. Once the film goes for this, not only does it stall, but it detracts away from what the real movie’s selling-point actually is: Ida and Philip. Thankfully, it does go back to them and allows this movie to somehow work it’s magic.

I have never seen Trine Dyrholm in a movie before, but her performance as Ida makes me want to pursue more and see what I can conjure up myself. The great thing behind Dyrholm’s performance is that we never, ever know what’s really going on with this character. Yes, we see her smile, laugh, joke around, and have a good time, but you know there’s something more to this gal that just feels real, but also very vulnerable. You know that she’s sad underneath all of the giggles and playfulness, but you can’t exactly put on your finger what and it makes you hope that she eventually finds that one person who will sweep her off of her feet, make her happy, and bring her back to the land of being loved.

Young love: makes me sick!!!
Aww, young love. Makes me sick!!

She might just have found that in Philip, played to perfection by Pierce Brosnan. Even though he doesn’t show up in as many movies as he definitely should, Brosnan is an exceptional actor, all for the sake that he is able to bring cool wit, charm, and likeability, even to the douchiest of characters. And Philip is that type of douche. Not only does the dude feel like he has all the money, riches, good-looks, and reasons to be happy at his disposal; he never really seems to be happy. He always seems to want to be alone, not bothered, and content with being like that. Is there something more to this dude that may be triggering that feeling? Maybe, maybe not. All we do know is that there is more to this guy and layer-by-layer, we begin to see that show and Brosnan works incredibly well with it because he feels real. He’s a handsome dude that knows how to make the ladies swoon (without singing), but he also feels like a honest dude who knows what he wants, he just doesn’t know how to approach it just yet. Him and Dyrholm’s chemistry isn’t what you expect between two adults who are still trying to search for the right answer. They’re a bit fiery, a bit sexual, and a bit loving as well. Together, they are great and what keep this movie moving, interesting, and always entertaining.

Consensus: You may, or may not be able to see the ending of Love is All You Need coming from a mile away, but no matter what, you still will be interested, entertained, and happy with what you feel, see, and hear, especially from the finely-written characters we have to here.

7.5 / 10 = Rental!!

My man Pierce, still got it.
My man Pierce, still got it.
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2 comments

  1. I really enjoyed this movie, much more than I expected to. It’s worth seeking out a subtitled version of “Haevnen” as Trine is terrifific in that, too. Good review!

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