A hairdresser who has lost her hair to cancer finds out her husband is having an affair, travels to Italy for her daughter's wedding and meets a widower who still blames the world for the loss of his wife.
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Sverre Anker Ousdal
A Danish woman, Ida (Trine Dyrholm), who has just finished her cancer treatments, walks in on her suffering husband in bed with his young co-worker. She travels alone to their daughter's wedding, which is to take place in Italy, but meets the father of the groom, Philip (Pierce Brosnan), and immediately makes a bad first impression. At the seaside villa where Philip once lived with his wife, conflicts arise not least between the soon-to-be newlyweds. But first impressions fade, and Ida may find her chance for another life. Written by
Peter Brandt Nielsen
I don't understand what all the kvetching about. This is a terrific film, one which no American director could have made. American directors, it seems, are blind to the complexities and nuances of family life. Susanne Bier knows about family, and conveys her knowledge directly and, in this film, joyfully. If American pop-culture holy rollers who drone on incessantly about "family values" would view her films, they just might learn something -- and be less inclined to suicide when Daddy gets arrested for embezzlement or consorting with transvestite prostitutes, or Junior declares he's gay.
If you liked "After the Wedding", or "Brothers" (the original, Danish version) -- two other great Bier/Anders Thomas Jensen collaborations -- you may well be delighted by this film. Unfortunately, the knuckleheads who marketed the DVD in the U.S. decided on a vanilla title, rather than the literal "The Bald Hairdresser," which is far more intriguing, and they designed the cover art to pitch the film as a romance. Italy! Sunshine! Geriatric romance! What a bunch of nonsense. This is a Susanne Bier film. It is about something.
Trine Dyrholm's performance as the complex character Ida is both endearing and impressive -- forcing pretty boy Pierce Brosnan to scramble to keep up with her. I always thought of Brosnan as a James Bondish sort of guy, a film actor with, shall we say, a rather limited range. But he does attempt to rise to the challenge, and his performance nearly matches that of Dyrholm. The scene where Philip shows up at Ida's hair salon to ask for a haircut caught me off guard. Then, right away, Bier and Jensen slapped me upside the head with the scene where, after she's begun to grow her own hair back, Ida asks Philip to sit with her while she opens her letter: that's writing, directing, acting, cinematography, and editing all in the palm of your hand: that's filmmaking.
The script is great -- full of surprises. It's a bit like Vinterberg's "The Celebration," with plenty of the drama, yet it is delivered with lighthearted affection and generosity. If you like "The Bald Hairdresser," I mean "Love Is All You Need," you might also like the other great Danish director, Lone Scherfig's, work -- particularly "Italian For Beginners" and "Wilbur Wants To Kill Himself."
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