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I Am Love

Posted by martinteller on February 16, 2013

Emma (Tilda Swinton) is a Russian woman, married into the aristocratic Recchi family.  Her husband Tancredi (Pippo Delbono) has just been handed the reins to the family factory… a duty her father-in-law saw fit to share between Tancredi and their son Edoardo (Flavio Parenti), not much of a vote of confidence.  In this stifled family environment, Emma’s young daughter Betta (Alba Rohrwacher) hides her budding lesbian feelings.  And Emma succumbs to the temptations of Edoardo’s chef friend Antonio (Edoardo Gabbriellini), seduced by the sensual pleasures of his food.

This is a gorgeously photographed movie.  The lighting and colors are simply ravishing, everything looks lush and captivating.  There’s some wonderful camera moves and lyrical edits.  The use of architecture and set design is sublime.  Combined with the ear-catching score by John Adams, the film is an aesthetic delight, mirroring the world of passion that Emma (a typically nuanced and impressive performance by Swinton) enters.

And yet it’s all in service of such empty fluff.  It always feel like something interesting is just about to happen, some sort of revelation or twist that will give the story more weight, the characters more depth.  And it never comes.  Underneath the beautiful surface and artful presentation is… not a whole lot.  It’s pretty clichéd and hacky, in my opinion.  Comparisons have been made to Sirk, but I didn’t get the same richness and feeling that I get from Sirk.  I was never more than slightly engaged with what Emma was doing and going through.

I wish I had more to write, but that’s about all I have to say.  It’s a visual feast with some intriguing music, but the narrative and thematic content is rather run-of-the-mill and uninspiring.  Rating: Fair (68)


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