Love Is All You Need Review


When viewed in comparison with the lifestyle of your average investment banker it is not a great stretch to work out why NHS employees are such a miserable lot.

While contemplating an upcoming 48-hour working weekend, the average junior doctor will attempt to save the lives of heroin addicts and knife victims in poorly maintained prefab shit-heaps.

At the same time, the coked up hedge fund manager who drank his way through university with our poor doctor is cracking open a bottle of château du bell-end in the latest gastronomic belle du jour on his expenses, contemplating the use of rohypnol to get the latest nubile office intern to capitulate.

Expenses funded by the budget cuts which means our medic now has to carry out complex surgical procedures by candlelight with a blunt, un-sterilised scalpel, an industrial blow torch and his badly bruised fist.

Yeah I’d be miffed too.

But perhaps not so moody that I would deliver the good news to a patient who has just successfully completed her treatment for cancer with a scowl, a disapproving glance at her wig and a leaflet outlining the psychological benefits of breast reconstruction.

This is how we meet our heroine Ida, the central character of Susanne Bier’s Love is All You Need, a Danish film set mainly in Italy.

Ida returns home on this joyous day to find Leif, her husband of many years, giving a spirited account of himself on the marital sofa with the girl from accounts.

Caught red handed, Leif promptly gets dressed and walks out on her with a parting shot, “the cancer has been hard for me too”.

Luckily the remarkably cheerful and optimistic Ida, has her daughter Astrid’s upcoming overseas wedding to keep her mind occupied and her spirits up.

Well that, and the prospect of getting fresh with the recently widowed and soon to be father of the groom, Phillip who’s struggling to fight off the amorous, and arguably misplaced, attentions of his dead wife’s sister.

Not forgetting, of course, the maternal meddling’s to attend to when it becomes apparent during the build up to the big day that her future son in law seems to have a penchant for Italian cliché’s of the male waiter variety.


Even an appearance from the uninvited accounts slut as her estranged husband’s +1 in pre-wedding gatherings at a picturesque Italian lemon grove doesn’t dampen Ida’s enthusiasm.

On the contrary, she revels in the intrigue, flirtation and beautiful Mediterranean surroundings before finding herself haphazardly flitting around the joint like an attractive Shirley Valentine and enjoying secret coffee liaisons with Phillip in sunlit cafes, romantic strolls along the beach and extreme rip-tide skinny-dipping.

As Ida’s relationship with Phillip develops, Astrid’s engagement with Patrick starts to show cracks. Leif realises he’s made a terrible mistake and wants his wife back, whilst Ida discovers a lump in her other breast raising the likelihood of her being left with a matching non-set or even worse still.

Love Is All You Need is a sweet little tale. with Bier’s gentle direction allowing the performances and locations to speak for themselves.

Trine Dyrholm, as the marvellously endearing Ida, is outstanding and carries the film, demanding the audience roots for her character throughout.

The supporting turns are also solid, as it turns out Pierce Brosnan as Phillip isn’t formed of lacquered mahogany after all and actually displays something approaching real emotion.

I felt like planting a big smacker on his erstwhile Irish lips, if only to refrain from asking him the age old question, “what kind of a fucked up accent is that anyway?, secure in the knowledge I’d only regret this the morning after once the old boy had broken my heart and wiped out my bank account to support his linen blazer addiction.

But please don’t let my pre-conceived notions about such an esteemed leading man deter you from seeing this charming, funny and uplifting film; only the deeply cynical, or an exhausted and bitter member of the medical profession, could fail to embrace Love Is All You Need.

Frank Gardiner

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Dates ‘n stuff

April 2013