Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Written by Luca Guadagnino & Barbara Alberti

Directed by Luca Guadagnino

Where & When: Arclight Cinemas, Hollywood, CA. June 20, 2010 7:55PM

Tilda Swinton plays Emma, a mysterious Russian who has almost completely abandoned her past to start a new life in Italy. She is married to Tangredi Recchi (Pippo Delbono), the son of a successful and wealthy textile plant owner and they have three children.

The story starts on a rare snowy day in Milan and the Recchi family has gotten together to celebrate the birthday of Tangredi's father. Edoardo Sr.(Gabriele Ferzetti) has announced that he is retiring and has left the company not only to his son but to his grandson, Edoardo Jr.(Flavio Parenti).

Later that evening, Antonio (Edoardo Gabbriellini), a friend of Eduardo Jr. who is a chef  has brought over a cake. Eduardo introduces his mother to Antonio. She invites him to stay but he declines the offer.

Elizabetta (Alba Rohnwacher), Emma's daughter who had been dating a boy, has come out to her mother as a lesbian. She is going to college to become an artist in Nice and invites her mother to come to meet her new love interest.

Under the advise of Edoardo Jr., Emma and his grandmother (Marisa Berenson) takes his new fiance, Ida (Maria Paiato) to have lunch at the restaurant that Antonio works in. Antonio's food stirs something in Emma, a passion that had laid dormant in her for a long time. She has a strong desire to get closer to Antonio. After lunch, she stops to thank Antonio and they chat. She discovers that he wants to open his own restaurant with Edoardo's help in Sanremo where he lives.

After saying that she is going to visit her daughter, Emma soon finds herself going to Sanremo. Emma runs into Antonio in town and he invites her to see his home. It doesn't take much time before the two are swept up in torrid love affair.

During a business trip in London, Edoardo Jr. struggles with his role in the company and the future of the business. He also grows suspicious of something unusual happening with his friend, Antonio. Emma is soon torn between her privileged life as a mother and wife and her new possible opportunity with a younger man of simple means.

Ms Swinton gives another amazing performance and she is so mesmerizing to watch. She is a handsome woman and I just love that androgynous quality of her face that just make her even more fascinating.

This is a conventional story told very unconventionally. The film is fragmented, so it doesn't tell or show you directly what is happening all of the time, so you have to be paying close attention to understand what is going on. Although I did find "I Am Love" interesting, I can't say I actually liked it. During most of the film, it just made me think I was watching a very expensive student film with top notch actors involved. Mr.Guadagnino felt the need to throw in way too many unnecessary cinematic tricks like blurry images, many quick cuts, extreme close-ups and slow motion shots that didn't add anything and just made the film feel directionless and unpolished. His decision to loudly blast the musical score at the audience during apparently important scenes was really obnoxious. A woman sitting next to me during the film actually cover her ears.

The director seemed to be struggling with wanting to create a Hollywood-styled melodrama and making an esoteric art film but has only succeeded in making neither particularly well. There are certainly some beautifully crafted moments to be found in this film but not nearly enough to recommend anyone sitting through "I Am Love".