Rewatched Jul 11, 2012
Gregory Ashman’s review:
While watching the opening passages of Luca Guadagnino’s I Am Love, the viewer is invited to luxuriate in images both sumptuous and sinister. At the heart of it all is Emma Recchi (Tilda Swinton), a Russian-born matriarch who married into a Milanese textile dynasty and is now living La Dolce Vita… at a cost though. She may seem to be master of the Recchi household but you definitely get the sense that her refined surroundings are a gilded cage and Emma has become a ghost wandering through her own life. Now a lot of critics have given this film some flack for its preoccupation with the 3 Fs (food, fashion, and furnishings) and a melodramatic tone that grates but I think it is precisely its dramatic tone and aesthetic choices that stood out so well for me. Reminiscent of past works by Douglas Sirk, Luchino Visconti, and Frederico Fellini, this film serves as a reminder of the intelligent, lavishly appointed adult dramas that don’t seem to be made anymore. Sure the emotions on display are swooning and operatic and maybe a tad silly at times, but I Am Love serves as a self-reflexive and conscious throwback to an earlier style of filmmaking. The themes of love as transformative revolution and retreat back to nature resonated heavily with me in the end and with help from John Adams’ insistent score (taken from his opera “Nixon in China”) , this story truly soars.