Io sono l’amore [I Am Love] (2009)

Io sono l’amore is Luca Guadagnino‘s newest film, starring Tilda Swinton, Flavio Parenti and Edoardo Gabbriellini.

Emma (Tilda Swinton) is the wife of upper class business man Tancredi (Pippo Delbono). A Russian emigrant herself, she’s not only literally but also figuratively exiles, though she seemingly has everything – money, three kids, a good life. But when she meets her son Edoardo’s (Flavio Parenti) friend Antonio (Edoardo Gabbriellini) they connect and soon Emma finds herself in an affair that shakes not only her existence.

Io sono l’amore has an excellent cast and some things were very nicely done, but I just didn’t like Guadagnino’s directing style (which is too symbolic for its own good), nor did I like the ending (which is just a little ridiculous).

Tilda Swinton is a wonderful actress and it really doesn’t matter what movie she’s in, you can’t help but be completely captured by her performance. This is also what happens here, only that she has a very able supporting cast to help along. Flavio Parenti and Edoardo Gabbriellini are good, but it’s Alba Rohrwacher who really manages not to get eclipsed by Tilda Swinton’s performance.

And so it comes to no surprise that the scenes between Emma and her daughter Betta (Alba Rohrwacher) are the movie’s strongest part, equally touching and interesting. It is rather sad that the movie doesn’t spend much time with them, especially since Betta’s plot nicely mirrors Emma’s.

As I said before, Luca Guadagnino’s directing style didn’t agree with me. There were some beautiful shots [most of which are in the trailer, it seems] but mostly it was a little too… artsy. When Emma and Antonio sleep with each other and what we see is some naked skin in the background, but the focus is on the flowers in the foreground with bees and other insects doing some pollinating, I just want to headdesk. And when a fight between Emma and Tancredi (what’s more, in an empty church) turns completely symbolic (she’s wet, he gives her his jacket, she tells him about the affair, he takes the jacket away), I want to strangle Guadagnino.

It doesn’t help that the ending is just too melodramatic. It doesn’t make sense. Why does Emma suddenly has to run out of the house, pack her stuff in all haste, doesn’t take the time to say anything to her children? It’s not like Tancredi shows the slightest inclination to do her harm and she has to flee. I understand that she wants to get away, but, you know, it seems so overblown. Combining this with the generally completely overdramatic soundtrack and the ending feels too big for what it actually is.

Summarising: It’s not a bad movie, but I’m a little surprised that it got that much praise.


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