TIFF 2012 Special Presentation
Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Trine Dyrholm, Paprika Steen
Review By Greg Klymkiw
Some movies to me are just so utterly, reprehensibly, unrelentingly sickening I can almost taste the bile jetting up to my taste buds and imagine the grotesque chunks of semi-digested food matter that will cascade from my gullet and splatter immodestly upon the floor. Love is All You Need is just such a movie.
That said, there is one salient difference between it and the offensive coathanger-extracted lumps of cinematic viscous like the Sex and the City movies (well, actually, anything starring Sarah Jessica Parker) and virtually every "chick flick" of both the pre-and-post-menopausal variety - especially those made by men.
That difference is simply this; Love is All You Need is almost good - or rather, it's good for what it is and good for whom it is intended.
This I'll admit, however, is not an especially ringing endorsement.
The movie carries the weighty pedigree of director Susanne Bier - a stalwart camera jockey who made one genuinely interesting movie called Hævnen (AKA In a Better World) which, in spite of its quality (mostly, I'd say, in the writing and secondarily in its by-the-numbers direction), was an inexplicable winner of the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar in a year when it was up against a number of truly fine and challenging films.
Then again, this was the immortal 83rd Academy Awards when the execrable The King's Speech swept all the major prizes, so chances are good Oscar was wearing his extra-strength Dunce-Cap with considerable gusto and pride.
Still, Bier handles the slightly offbeat romantic comedy proceedings of Love is All You Need with the requisite skill one would expect from a first-rate camera jockey.
But, my God, the picture is sickening! So much so that I practically needed to nail my feet to the floor in order to stop me from bolting after ten minutes. What's even more sickening is realizing just how many people (of a certain persuasion) might actually enjoy it. (I have to keep reminding myself that we're in the Decline of Western Civilization.)
Basically, we've got ourselves a sexy, slightly post-menopausal Danish housewife who is recovering from breast cancer. Her nebbish hubby is boinking his insanely young bookkeeper and dumps wifey for the more decidedly pert pastures of a woman barely out of the cradle.
And wouldn't you know it?
All this is happening on the eve in which our middle aged Danish Treat and her chunky, loutish, bone-headed philandering hubby are about to jet off to Italy to marry their sexy daughter off to the hunky son of an incredibly rich fresh fruit magnate.
The Fruit Man is played by none other than Pierce Brosnan. In all fairness, he acquits himself very well as the romantic male lead just as Trine Dyrholm does as his female counterpart. For the life of me, though (and perhaps I was daydreaming about William Friedkin's Killer Joe and missed something), but I simply couldn't figure out how or why this Brit had a company in Denmark, had all sorts of co-workers yapping at him in Danish, while he replied in English. I mean really, now. At least we in the audience had English subtitles. Pierce had none. Nor, of course, did any of the happy Danes have English subtitles. Nevertheless, both parties seemed to do quite well in the understanding-each-other-sweepstakes. Let's hear it for the United Nations!
Okay, now wait for it. I'm about to reveal something extra-sickening.
Are you ready?
The Sexy Fruit Man and the Sexy Danish Treat de la Hausfrau meet...
- Oh, Christ!
Dare I say it?
God, did I even believe it was happening when it was happening?
Was it really so hard for me to just get up and leave at this point?
I stayed, however, and can live to now tell you the tale.
Besides, you probably guessed it.
THEY MEET CUTE!!!
Both of them are in the airport parking lot on the way to Italy and whammo! Danish Lady slams her car into Fruit Man's. Hilarity ensues.
Can it get more sickening than this?
Oh, you bet.
Once we get to Italy and the predictable romantic roundelays play out, I realized then and there just how skilfully simmered this bowl of oatmeal with flakes of bran (and a side of prune juice) actually was. No offence to the ladies, but the biggest and most sustained laughs came from the feminine persuasion.
Then it hit me - the nightmare scenario: Every middle aged hubby of the bourgeois persuasion will be dragged to this movie by their equally bourgeois middle aged wives. The wives will be yucking it up twixt having to violently elbow their hubbies to stop them from snoring.
A couple of weeks ago, I experienced this horror all by my lonesome when I went to see the insufferable Hope Springs. Luckily my wife wouldn't be caught dead at a movie like this. She has, what is referred to by some as, taste. As I suffered through Meryl Streep trying to bring romance back into her marriage with Tommy Lee Jones, all I could hear was - you guessed it - the laughter of women and the snores of their hubbies and the occasional elbow slams into their ribs.
Love is All You Need is pretty much more of the same.
Only much of it is in Danish.
"Love is All You Need" is a Special Presentation at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF 2012). It's playing Saturday September 8 Scotiabank 13 9:15 AM, Sunday September 9 Visa Screening Room (Elgin) 9:00 PM and Monday September 10 Isabel Bader Theatre 4:45 PM. For tickets and information, do not hesitate to visit the TIFF website HERE. Mongrel Media is the Canadian distributor.