I Am Love is a deeply human film, a stunning odyssey of love and lust that delights the senses. It is a sensual experience, full of eroticism, where the body does not feel objectified but rather adored. This sensuality is directors Luca Guadagnino’s playground in that he spins the story of Emma (Tilda Swinton), the wife of Tancredi (Pippo Delbono) and mother of Edoardo (Gabriele Ferzetti), who have just inherited the family business.
Where this film truly excels is in Guadagnino’s understanding that to earn its moments of grandeur, it must first lay the foundation so to not become melodramatic. The micro-moments, the sound of a Bee pollinating a plant, a dish that reminds Emma of her past, and the lustful gaze of two lovers earn the film’s moments of tragedy. It is also here in these micro-moments that this question of love is best found. Love in this film is not a matter of what one can provide through stability and materiality but rather is about loving and acting for oneself.
This evocation of love is given a voice by Swinton, who, in typical chameleonic fashion, is able to evolve as her love does. Often contrasted against the dark shadows of Milan and the vibrant colours of San Remo, she conveys this conflict between tradition and modernity. She explodes with dynamism and energy in the final act that cements her place not just as one of the greatest actors of our generation but as one of the greatest ever, period.
Watch “I Am Love” and let your senses be delighted, but don’t forget to ask yourself who and or what is love?