Milan, Italy is a very intriguing and complicated city. While it has the reputation as a center for style and fashion, it is usually disparaged by the fickle fashion flock who point out its flaws as compared to New York and Paris. While anyone from Italy will tell you the comparison is not really fair. New York, Paris, & London - they are all centers of culture and commerce for the countries they dominate as iconic cities. Milan, however is more of an industrial center than cultural epicenter. Rome would be the Italian city to hold its own as a global capital worthy of comparison with New York, Paris, & London.
I AM LOVE starring Tilda Swinton takes us inside the privileged lives of an industrial Milanese dynasty. The emotional complexities of the Recchi family are as faceted and rich as the beautiful furnishings that fill their pre-war Villa. Director Luca Guadagnino takes you inside the house, but not the mind of our leading lady. What is Emma Recchi hiding? What torments her? Is the seemingly perfect life not so perfect?
Fashion icon Marisa Berenson steals the scene as she delivers one of her strongest performances to date as Allegra Recchi. The Matriarch of this "business by the boys only" family, Allegra holds the emotional power that can serenade - or we can imagine suffocate any member of the clan. Ms. Berenson is a chameleon for sure, and she is almost unrecognizable due to her own physical transformation. Grand-daughter of the legendary fashion designer Elsa Schiaperelli, Ms. Berenson oozes a sense of style that seems to be innate and "inimitable" as her grandmother liked to describe it herself.
While Ms. Swinton is known as much for her striking looks as her performances, I AM LOVE puts her on a beautiful pedestal that we rarely see. Directors typically use her naturally androgynous looks to their advantage, however Mr. Guadagnino lets her blossom in her most feminine form. Her grasp of the Italian language is also no small achievement. Costume designer Antonella Cannarozzi could not have made better choices. Her work is as important to the story as any detail could be. For the trappings of success and luxury are critical details and almost portray a character of their own.
Set Decoration under the direction of Monica Sironi is absolutely superb. The luxurious yet claustrophobic sense of style and decor that is oh-so Milan is captured scene after scene. Anyone who has spent time in Milan for work or pleasure will relate to the somber sense of beauty and function that dominates Milanese decor. Music by John Adams takes you on an emotional roller coaster scene after scene. One moment soothing like a lullaby and the next riveted on the edge of your seat with nerve wracking beats.
I AM LOVE is in select theaters now, and also available for purchase. Rent or buy at Itunes - click -I AM LOVE . This is definitely one to buy and watch again and again. The perfect gift for anyone who spends time on planes, this is a hauntingly dreamy film that is only enhanced watching it while you are up in the clouds yourself. Do not miss this one! Watch the trailer below.