Friday, July 9, 2010

I Am Love

Most of my favorite films are the ones with a really strong script. I like movies with strong plotting and witty dialog and all of that is accomplished before a second of footage has been filmed. The new movie I Am Love is different because the reason I like it so much is because its excellent storytelling is accomplished entirely through its visual presentation.

The story of the Recchi family does not sound entirely appealing on paper. Tilda Swinton (Who learned Italian and Russian for this film) plays Emma, the mother of a wealthy and powerful family in Milan. At a formal dinner, the patriarch is going to name the successor of their family textile company. His decision is controversial but mostly because it was arrogant over conflicting.

During this process, Emma’s son finds an unlikely friend in the chef that beat him in a foot race. Together they work on forming their own restaurant. This friendship and involvement leads to some unexpected turns in the Recchi dynamic.

It sounds like a melodrama from the 50s but plays like something else entirely. Director and screenwriter Luca Guadagnino moves the movie in expected ways. The camera moves through its epic sceneries with impressive grace. Colors ebb and flow to fully impact the emotions throughout a scene. All of this causes surprises towards the audience.

There is a scene when Emma is walking through the city looking for something. I wasn’t entirely invested in what she was searching for. Then suddenly the score starts up. It’s this powerful selection from John Adams. It was so vibrant and exciting. It reminded me more of Bernard Hermann’s composition from North By Northwest and it initially felt so out of place in this movie. Then it didn’t.

Despite the dry story on the surface all of the characters are filled with these passionate emotions and this film is about showing that rise up. The invention in filmmaking in key scenes makes this a treat. There are a few meandering scenes especially in the beginning but it is worth it as it brings itself to an amazing conclusion.

I Am Love is now playing in selected theatres across the country including Indianapolis’s Landmark Theatre

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