Wednesday, July 7, 2010

I Am Love

Sumptuously styled and abundantly cinematic, I Am Love is superb to behold. Writer-director Luca Guadagnino constructs this visual feast from a very familiar tale of the trappings of wealth verses the freedom found in following your heart. Indeed, Academy Award winner Tilda Swinton (Michael Clayton) is a veritable force of nature in her portrayal of Russian beauty turned Milanese high-society wife Emma Recchi, whose passion is reignited by son’s friend Antonio (Edoardo Gabbriellini). In a pitch perfect performance Swinton captivates with her palpable attraction, electrifying a film that is otherwise rather slightly written.

It's disappointing that Swinton’s nuanced portrayal, Yorick Le Saux’s lush cinematography and John Adams’ bombastic score can’t quite make up for the stock-standard characterisations of other members of the Recchi family, and a bare understanding of Antonio himself. But despite this lack of substance elsewhere, Emma’s story is beautifully hewn. Mirrored in her surroundings, she develops from an impeccably groomed but austere wife, to a vibrant, bucolic lover - shedding her façade as she does her glossy mane of hair. Her journey is as captivating to watch as its consequences are heart-rending.

Published by The Big Issue (#337)
Australian release date: 24 June 2010

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