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'Love is All You Need' mixes cancer, comedy

Danish director Susanne Bier's unusual romantic comedy "Love is All You Need" matches a Danish cancer patient and tycoon.

Pierce Brosnan & Trine Dyrholm are each in Italy for their child's wedding in 'Love Is All You Need.'
Pierce Brosnan & Trine Dyrholm are each in Italy for their child's wedding in 'Love Is All You Need.'Read more

BREAST-CANCER romcom - there's a phrase you don't hear every day.

Or a movie you might never expect to see, although Danish director Susanne Bier makes a brave attempt in "Love is All You Need."

It's the bilingual (mostly English) story of a Danish hairdresser Ida (Trine Dyrholm) whose empty nest may soon be empty of her husband - he has a wandering eye and lately has been making eyes at his trashy bookkeeper.

The least of her problems. She's just finished chemotherapy, and although her physicians say she is cancer-free, they are clumsily candid about her chances to remain so. (Bier has a knack for social awkwardness that flourishes during these scenes.)

She also is about to fly to Italy for the wedding of her daughter, an event itself fraught with peril - the romance too much of a whirlwind, the groom a little too eager, a little too storybook handsome.

The latter description also applies to the groom's tycoon father (Pierce Brosnan), who hosts the wedding on his family estate with the regal disdain of a weary monarch. The only woman who escapes it is Ida, who charms him in part because she still wears the mantle of mortality, which speaks to his own melancholy.

They have a growing flirtation as the wedding weekend progresses, or regresses - Bier jumps back and forth between broad comedy and something more bittersweet, and I don't know that she ever finds and sustains the right tone.

Still, it's an unusual and in its own way gutsy movie, anchored by strong leads - the lovely Dyrholm and Brosnan, who's become a more substantial actor as he's gone lined and gray.