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Love is All You Need

What is it with the Europeans and Italy? I don’t know when that country became the international symbol of rebirth through sunshine, greenery, and unspoiled seascapes, but it’s been a cinematic cliché at least since A Room with a View. Last year the makers of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel tried to move the cliché to India, but this summer we’re back in sunny Italy with this new film from Danish arthouse favorite Susanne Bier (Brothers, In a Better World).

Originally titled The Bald Hairdresser, the movie’s central character is Ida (Danish star Trine Dyrholm), a middle-aged woman recovering from a mastectomy. Having just caught her contractor husband in flagrante with his accountant, she is faced with going alone to Italy for her daughter’s wedding alone. Seems her fiance’s family owns a lemon grove there, with a big house that isn’t being used. On her way to the airport she has an auto accident with a grumpy businessman named Phillip. Because he is played with all suavity by Pierce Brosnan, we guess that he is not simply going to be incidental to the plot. You got it—father of the groom. And guess what—he’s single, too, and has been since his wife died. (That’s what he’s grumpy about.)

After that the movie proceeds in what I like to think of as box-of-marbles fashion. We have a bunch of disparate characters who spend the movie bumping up against each other, every instance developing more of each personality. It never really adds up to much of anything, and goes pretty much exactly where you suspect it’s going to. But it’s quite lovely to look at—summer is always better experienced onscreen, without the pollen and the sweatiness. If I had to sum it up in a single observation, I would note that the song “That’s Amore” is played four times in different versions. Caveat emptor.

Watch the trailer for Love is All You Need

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