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Love is All You Need (Review)

19/04/2013 11:20 BST | Updated 18/06/2013 10:12 BST

Directed by Susanne Bier, who shares a writing credit with Anders Thomas Jensen, this is a story about one woman's emotional awakening, a Norwegian Shirley Valentine if you like. It's not the story as it's also about a middle-aged man coming to terms with the death of his wife.

Ida, played by a luminous Trine Dyrholm, is an ordinary housewife and mother of two grown-up children, who works as a hairdresser. But Ida is recovering from breast cancer. She has had a mascetomy and is in remission. There's a lovely scene where a consultant asks Ida if she would like reconstructive surgery and she refuses, much to the consultant's surprise. Her husband, Ida says, would scarcely notice. And anyway, "He sees what's inside," she insists. Our sense of foreboding is fully justified when she returns home to find her oafish husband Leif screwing a much younger woman on the living room couch. With their daughter's wedding taking place in Italy in a matter of days, Ida insists on keeping up appearances. And that's where the trouble starts...

Pierce Brosnan stars as Ida's love interest Philip, a man who has shut down emotionally after his wife's premature death. He is determined to be alone, despite the best efforts of his sister-in-law and employees. But fate, of course, has other ideas. When Ida and Philip literally crash into each other, they take an instant dislike to one another. He thinks she is stupid and she thinks he is hard and uncaring - and then they discover that their children are marrying each other. It's a pleasure to see Brosnan starring opposite someone old enough to be his wife. Hollywood's May to December pairings are beginning to pall. All the cast here deserve praise; no one strikes a false note, and the result is a joy from start to finish. The humour is never puerile, but warm and gentle.

This is a delightful romantic comedy of the kind I only wish we could make in England. Love is All You Need has real heart and soul.

Love Is All You Need is in cinemas now.