Saturday movie review: 'Love Is All You Need'

Valentine's Day weekend begs for a romantic comedy to watch, and LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED perfectly fits the bill for us middle-aged movie lovers. Actually, I think it fits the bill for all adult movie lovers, middle-aged or not, who crave an uplifting story about heartbroken people still hoping to find love and happiness.

 Love Is All You Need movie

LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED is a delightful bilingual film — Danish and English, with subtitles for the Danish parts — directed by Academy Award winner Susanne Bier. Pierce Brosnan and Trine Dyrholm star as middle-aged strangers set adrift by unkind circumstances. Philip (Brosnan) is a lonely and angry English widower living in Denmark. Ida (Dyrholm) is a Danish hairdresser with a philandering lout of a husband. She's just completed chemo treatments for breast cancer and still awaits confirmation she's beat the disease.

Philip and Ida meet as they head to Italy for the wedding of Philip's son and Ida's daughter, who are marrying after a three-month whirlwind romance.

Despite the pain and sorrow Philip and Ida have been through, their courage to make the best of crappy situations is admirable. Their adult children carry much baggage of their own, and the two parents do their best to keep humor and hope alive in their kids while seeking more fulfilling lives for themselves.

What I loved about the movie: So many things. First, the premise could be very depressing, but it's surprisingly upbeat and hopeful and often laugh-out-loud funny. "That's Amore!" playing through the opening scenes and credits sets the tone from the outset. That said, though, the pain and heartache of nearly every character is undeniable. There's a melancholic, lonely feel to most of them — with the exception of Ida's jerk of a husband, who deserves no sympathy whatsoever.

I thoroughly appreciated the sensitivity given to Ida's struggle with breast cancer and Dyrholm's bravery with the part (she actually shaved her head so as to be authentic). And I especially appreciated that the entire film didn't devolve into the territory of a sappy — or silly — Lifetime Channel movie. There was a perfect balance, with moments of profound pain intertwined with light humor and lush photography.

The acting was truly lovely and the chemistry between characters — particularly Brosnan and Dyrholm — refreshing. And the setting? Sheesh! Jim and I decided we absolutely must visit Sorrento, Italy, one day... for many days. So charming and inviting — and romantic.

LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED (rated R for brief sexuality, nudity and some language) was released in theaters in 2012 and is now available on Bluray, DVD and digitally through iTunes and Amazon Instant Play. Learn more on the LOVE IS ALL YOU NEED website.