I Am Love

I Am Love ★★★★½

This is film 6 of a long-ish marathon I'm doing over at the Filmspotting Forum with a few other members. In it we will be considering at least one movie from the careers of some of our best working actresses (Emma Thompson, Tilda Swinton, Cate Blanchett, Juliette Binoche, and Meryl Streep) See all of my reviews here.

Outside of We Need to Talk About Kevin (which will be rewatched soon, have no fear), I'm not sure I've seen Tilda Swinton be so normal. She's not some alternate universe version of Margaret Thatcher nor an evil witch nor a jealous angel in this Italian movie, she's just a mom. She is rich, so she's not entirely "normal", and the film allows her to indulge in some activities that would fall outside of a typical person's behavior, but she's just a person here. It's refreshing to see her so down to earth when I've mostly seen her be so loopy. She does it very well, pulling some of Emma Thompson's old tricks by hiding her real emotions below a veneer of, well, normalcy. When passion slips out, as it begins to do more and more, she is as surprised as we are. Wonderful acting.

The other movie from my top 100 list I was reminded of during my viewing was my number 1, Fanny and Alexander. Like that film, this one opens with a Christmas dinner in a foreign land at a wealthy family's house. The celebrations aren't quite as warm for the Recchi's as they were for the Ekdahl's, but you take what you can get, I guess. There's a transfer of power and a visit from a new friend. Here, Swinton can be proud of her family, if a little bored by all of their rituals. So it's no wonder that she becomes infatuated with the new friend, a chef, and begins to have an affair with him. Here the movie takes a turn for the sensual, but not in the sense you're thinking of. The first real note of passion sparked by this new relationship comes in the form of a prawn cooked by Antonio (the friend/chef) and eaten by Swinton. The first bite is electric and it's not long until the film can't even keep up with Swinton's voracious consumption (note the small time jump at the end of this scene). Aha! Life! Later, they consummate the relationship and it becomes a deconstruction of her body. A breast here, a hand there, a jaw, an eye. She is being taken apart and reformed in front of us. A new woman. There are further developments, but I'll leave those for you to discover on your own. You should. They're fascinating.