I Am Love

I was initially drawn to I Am Love for two reasons. One: The overbearing score in the trailer, and two, the almost ubiquitous acclaim received by all the critics I respect. The New York Times has already made it a Critic’s Pick for goodness sakes.  I was not disappointed, everything they said was true.

The is as lavish and luxurious as most anything I’ve ever seen.  The story follows a young Russian matriarch named Emma (Tilda Swinton), who marries into an extremely rich Italian family, surnamed Ricchi.  The film begins with the birthday party of Emma’s father-in-law Eduardo Sr., the owner and CEO of the Recchi family business.  He announces his retirement and leaves the family business to Emma’s husband Tancredi (Pippo Delbono), and Tancredi’s son, Eduardo Jr. (Flavio Parenti).  The announcement is shocking, but being a polite, emotionally veiled family, no one questions the decision.

After this party, the film moves forward a few months.  Eduardo Sr. has died, and at first, it’s slightly mystifying why director Luca Guadagnino (who write the screenplay as well), chose to gloss over such a major event in the family.  It becomes clear however, that Guadagnino wanted to save most of his screen time for Ms. Swinton.  I’ve never been a huge fan of hers, but after this breathtaking performance, I’ve been won over.  There’s no question about her talent now.  She even managed, somehow, to look less androgynous, and become a pillar of femininity.

It becomes apparent that Eduardo Sr.’s death serves as an unspoken permission to deviate from the ordinary.  Tancredi seems very interested in selling off the family business, a business he promised not to sell a few months earlier.  Emma’s daughter Elisabetta (Alba Rohrwacher) breaks up with her boyfriend because she has fallen in love with a woman (although the reason isn’t made known to the other characters until later in the film).  Emma allows herself to stray beyond the marriage, and begin an affair with Eduador Jr.’s friend, and talented chef, Antonio (Edoardo Gabbriellini). Antonio’s talents in the kitchen bring Emma to an almost orgasmic state, where everything else in the restaurant goes dark, allowing for an intensely private and passionate moment between her and her meal. Yes, things are changing for the Recchis.

Guadagnino has a career of directing films and operas about the Italian aristocracy. And like Claude Chabrol of France, he seems to have found himself a genre where no one could ever replace him. John Adams’ particularly beautiful and soaring score provides a rather perfect soundtrack to this strange and beautiful life lead by Emma and her family. A satisfying metaphor of all the emotion just beneath the surface, aching to be set free.


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8 Responses to “I Am Love”
  1. If you like tilda swinton, she is sharing her 5 favourite films on rottentomatoes at the moment.

    Personally, I feel she is a little too cold and emotionless, and not a great actress for this reason.

    But I thought she was good in “Orlando”, a very weird , but strangely captivating film, worth checking out ( :
    moviesandsongs365´s last blog post ..Movie of the week- Henry Poole is here 2008

  2. I’m thrilled to hear the praise and enjoyment from the film! I missed it at Inside Out this year but will be catching up with it when it comes out here later in the week! So exciting 🙂
    Shannon the Movie Moxie´s last blog post ..Despicable Me Talks the Lead! Canadian- North American- UK &amp Australian Box Office July 9- 2010 Weekend

  3. blake says:

    @moviesandsongs365 – Usually, I’d totally agree with you. She’s mostly emotionless, and cold. But here, the transformation she goes through is astonishing. I’d highly recommend it. And I’ve added Orlando to my Netflix queue. Thanks for the heads up!

    @Shannon – I’m jealous you had the opportunity to see this so much more in advance that I did. But I can’t lavish enough praise on this film. It’s the best thing I’ve seen this year.
    blake´s last blog post ..Today I Feel Like This

  4. The best you’ve seen this year, I must be seeing it then ( :
    moviesandsongs365´s last blog post ..Movie of the week- Scent of a woman 1992

  5. Vanessa says:

    I haven’t even heard of this one… Now Im intrigued! Might go see it tomorrow. Its only playing in a couple of cinemas here.
    Vanessa´s last blog post ..A Single Man on DVD

  6. Blake says:

    @ Vanessa – I think you should! I’ll waiting to hear what you think on your blog.

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  1. […] Been hearing a lot about I AM LOVE for weeks. Might it be another example of the best things this summer being two or three tiles down the marquee? Blake seems to think so. […]

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