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The Grand Suggests: "Love Is All You Need"

Middle-aged woman finds love in Italy

Pierce Brosnan and Trine Dyrholm meet unexpectedly in “Love Is All You Need.”

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All you need is love, or so Lennon and McCartney would have you believe; and although the Beatles' 1967 ballad is nowhere to be found on the film's soundtrack, (Dean Martin's "That's Amore" does an excellent job serving as the film's leitmotif), it seems the Fab Four's sentiment remains intact in Love Is All You Need, (or The Bald Hairdresser to Danish audiences), the latest from Academy Award-winning director Susanne Bier.

The film centers on Ida, (Trine Dyrholm), a middle-aged hairdresser fresh from a tentatively successful breast cancer treatment that, as cancer treatment so often does, has left her bald. She returns home from a follow-up consultation to discover her husband Leif, (Kim Bodnia), is having an affair, an act he loathsomely defends as being a justifiable result of Ida's illness before he walks out on her.  To make matters worse, the grim revelation that her marriage is falling apart comes just days before Ida and Leif are supposed to fly to Italy for their daughter Astrid's wedding.

Philip, (Pierce Brosnan), a wealthy widower and fruit merchant, reluctantly but graciously celebrates his birthday in the company of his employees and spurns the advances of his secretary, explaining that he's "a guy who's chosen to be by himself, simple as that." Of course, the reason why Philip chooses to be alone is anything but simple, but there's no time to explore the matter right now; he has to get to Italy for his son Patrick's wedding.

Meanwhile, Astrid, (Molly Blixt Egelind) and Patrick, (Sebastian Jessen), are busy as bees in Italy making the final arrangements for their wedding and re-furnishing the empty plantation house, (Philip and his late wife's former home), that is to accommodate their many guests and serve as the venue for the festivities. Due to the truncated timetable, they enlist the aid of two locals, Marco, (Marco D'Amore) and Alessandro (Ciro Petrone), to help them.  Unfortunately, Marco and Alessandro add their own drama to a situation that already has more than its fair share of issues at work.

Love Is All You Need is a beautiful film. Anders Thomas Jensen's writing and Susanne Bier's direction weave a tale that is delightfully complex, but well-paced and never confusing. Performances are excellent all across the board. Trine Dyrholm's Ida is a sweet, mild-mannered woman who always seems pleasant by default and that we can't help but like. Conversely, Kim Bodnia plays Leif as such a reprehensible loutish buffoon; we would despise him if he weren't so pathetic. Pierce Brosnan has made a fine career for himself playing a handsome, charming Englishman, and his portrayal of Philip is no exception; but he also brings such a crushing sense of loss and heartbreak to the character that never once does his performance remind us of his more iconic roles, (not even when he's wearing a tuxedo).

Love Is All You Need is a heartwarming tale about the inherent irrationality and enduring power of love amidst the unknowable and constant chaos of life.

LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED, opens Friday, June 28, The Grand Cinema, 606 S. Fawcett Ave., Tacoma, $4.50-$9, 253.593.4474

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