We have seen Irish actor Pierce Brosnan as James Bond. In fact, in India, it is not the Remington Steel television series or Dante’s Peak or The Thomas Crown Affair that Brosnan got noticed and written about. It was Ian Fleming’s Bond that caught people’s fancy. And not just in India as the legendary film critic, Derek Malcolm, now into his eighties and with the Evening Standard in London, tells me. Malcolm narrates an incident in London when especially young girls went crazy seeing Brosnan after one of his Bond adventures. “This is my audience”, he told Malcolm. Probably, he should have added, and “they are fans of 007”.
After his action sequences as the British secret agent that kept us at the edge of our seats for many years before a new Bond emerged, it was wonderful to see a relaxed Brosnan in a Susanne Bier-helmed movie, Love Is All You Need, which premiered at the ongoing Venice Film Festival.
The work was as refreshing as Brosnan was in his new avatar: with much of cinema on the Lido talking about violent Japanese Yakuzas, incest, torture and other form of human degradations, Bier’s movie was a delightful love story set in extraordinarily pleasing part of Italy, and the occasion, a great wedding that to me seemed as exciting and trying as one in India.
Danish director Bier, whose sober thriller, In A Better World, won the foreign language Oscar in 2011, makes Brosnan so human that one is bound to forget what a ruthless guy he was in his Bond shoes. He plays Philip, a rich widower and big shot in the Copenhagen fruit and vegetable market. He is hosting his son’s wedding in his villa at Sorrento, and there is also the bride’s mother, Ida (Trine Dyrholm), who is just recovering from cancer. Somewhat nervous as she is awaiting the final “cured” signal from her doctors, and also devastated by her husband deserting her for a younger woman, Ida’s first brush with Philip at the airport parking is far from pleasant. It is quite disastrous.
But well, into the marriage – where Philip’s sister-in-law is trying to revive an old romance with him – he finds Cupid darting arrows at his heart which he thought had gone cold.
There are many aspects in Love Is What You Need which are predictable as there many which are not. But the work is not a comedy. It is more a romance, a serious romance that can only happen between two mature and middle-aged adults.
Some great picture postcard settings, some sorrow, some harsh truths laced with fun and wit make Bier’s creation something quite memorable.