Tilda Swinton can be a very cold and intimidating actress, from The White Witch in the Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe or the adulteress wife of John Malcovich in Burn After Reading… Swinton knows how to play a bitch.
So it came as a welcome surprise to see her take a role that not only showed off her acting talent (speaking fluent Italian and Russian) but a softer, more relatable side.
Russian born Emma now the good wife to Italien, Tancredi Rechi is preparing to throw a family meal for her wealthy aristocrat family to celebrate her father-in-law’s birthday and the announcement of his successor.
Emma, although head of the household is something of a trophy wife. With style and authority, but no clearly defined role in terms of business or culture Emma is drifting and living day to day as a ghost.
The only daughter of the family is Betta, a frustrated young woman who has to leave the family in order to be who she really is.
In an unoriginal fashion, Beta comes home and confides in Emma that she is a lesbian and explains that Emma is the only one she can trust with her secret. “Only you love me for who I really am,” a poignant moment that sums up the entire film.
This revelation seems to spur Emma into taking action and finding love with her sons’ friend and business partner Antonio, a good looking chef that entices Emma with his humble demeanour and awakens her senses with his delicious cooking and uninhibited love making.
The sensual, flesh baring Garden of Eden style scenes between Emma and Antonio may seem overly romanticised but demonstrates a break from the mundane family life and served to get the nana’s of the audience rattling their sweet rappers a little more vigorously than before.
But of course like all family dramas the truth will out and Emma’s secret does not stay hidden for long. The tragic, climactic finale seems slightly ridiculous capered to the slow paced and sensual build, but Guadagnino has embraced the Italian flare for drama and does not compromise his ending.
Using long, drawn out shots that extend and weave around the often quiet corridors of the family home, director Luca Guadagnino creates a sense of unrest and a longing for action which builds throughout reflecting the central characters own feelings.
I am Love is a treat for the senses, with a score that ensures to keep the senses heightened and a visual buffet of Italian culture. If you enjoy the Operatic family melodrama with metaphor and style I am Love will appeal but if you prefer action and fast paced plot stay clear of Guadaginino’s latest cinematic work.
Now showing at FACT