In her recent films, Oscar-winning Danish director Susanne Bier has meditated on the ability of the human spirit to endure all-consuming grief. Perhaps hankering for some light relief, she dons her sunglasses and SPF25 for this life-affirming comedy set at an idyllic villa on the breathtaking Sorrentine Peninsula.
The literal translation of the film’s Danish title Den Skaldede Frisor is The Bald Hairdresser, and this succinctly sums up heroine Ida (Trine Dyrholm), who has undergone chemotherapy as part of her breast cancer treatment.
Ida returns home from a check up to find her oafish husband Leif (Kim Bodnia) in flagrante delicto with blonde accountant Tilde (Christiane Schaumburg-Muller).
Ida leaves him to catch a flight to Sorrento, where their daughter Astrid (Molly Blixt Egelind) is due to marry her handsome fiance Patrick (Sebastian Jessen).
In the airport car park, Ida absent-mindedly backs into a car being driven by English widower Philip (Pierce Brosnan), who has thrown himself into his work – fruit and vegetable wholesale – following the death of his wife. It transpires that Philip is Patrick’s father and is also heading to the ceremony.
Her tenderness and honesty are a tonic, kindling a spark of attraction between the strangers.
Personal relationships become strained when Ida’s cheating husband arrives with Tilde in tow.