Io Sono l’Amore

23 Jul

Title: Io Sono l’Amore
Year: 2010
Director: Luca Guadagnino
Writers: Luca Guadagnino and Barbara Alberti
Starring: Tilda Swinton, Gabriele Ferzetti, Marisa Berenson
MPAA Rating: R, sexuality and nudity
Runtime: 120 min
Major Awards:
IMDb Rating: 7.3
Rotten Tomatoes: 81%

Yes, at parts Io Sono l’Amore, or I Am Love for those who go for its English title, is a bit melodramatic, but for the most part is a visually stunning film by Luca Guadagnino who in Tilda Swinton, his long-time friend, has found an exquisite collaborator to tell this beautiful story with. Because Ms. Swinton really is a terrific actress, she learned both Italian and Russian just for this film, languages she had no experience with prior to filming, and how she and Mr. Guadagnino explore the emotional turmoil of her character was nothing short of spectacular.

Tilda Swinton won’t be nominated for an Oscar for her performance in this film, but so far to me it is amongst the best female performances of the year, as a Russian woman who marries into a wealthy aristocratic Italian family who owns textile mills in Milano. When we start we see Ms. Swinton’s character, Emma, at the family’s house preparing for the birthday party of the patriarch who later that day makes the announcement that’s he’s retiring from his business, and that Emma’s husband, Tancredi, and Emma and Tancredi’s son, Edo, will now be in charge of the company.

This film will obviously make one think of Luchino Visconti’s The Leopard, another great Italian film that deals with love and lust behind wealthy aristocrats, the influence that film has had in Io Sono l’Amore is obvious, but it’s not the same film at all, the Emma character for one is unique because she doesn’t really feel as though she entirely belongs in the family, she’s Russian after all, and retreats to her room often, and this is all shown beautifully by Ms. Swinton, she has to be one of the best actresses we have living today, how she embodies emotion is perfect, and how she embodies sexuality is perfect as well, she has had that quality for as long as I can remember, and I love it that Swinton embodies sexuality differently every time, taking special attention to her character in how she moves sexually, in how she exudes this eroticism, there is also special care by Mr. Guadagnino to that here, to the sexual aspects, yes, there is nudity and sex and adultery, but there is so much more.

This is the story of a family and it’s a magnificent film with a director that not only focusses on Emma but on the other members of the family as well, that pays attention to the humanity of his characters, and that with Emma crafts a rich character that I will remember for some time to come, a character that starts by exploring too much the needs of others and gradually learns to explore her own, and by god, Tilda Swinton is pitch-perfect in this one.

Grade: B+

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