Betsy Sharkey's film pick of the week: 'I Am Love'
It is always such a treat to see the excellent Tilda Swinton, one of our finest contemporary actresses, with countless awards and an Oscar for her intensely drawn attorney in "Michael Clayton." Rare, though, that a movie is tailor-made to showcase her many talents, but that's exactly what director Luca Guadagnino has done with the sumptuous "I Am Love."
Set in Italy at the beginning of the 21st century, the film serves up a feast of emotions, issues and choices for Swinton -- and she digs into all of them. As Emma, an upper-class wife and mother of a wealthy Milan textile merchant with three grown children, she's trying to figure out the rest of her life. To complicate things a bit more, she's a Russian emigre, which leaves Swinton speaking Italian with a slight Russian accent, no mean feat.
There to help her is a passionate and inventive young chef, Antonio, portrayed by Edoardo Gabbriellini, who proves he is more than up to the task of playing off the great force field of Swinton. He teases her taste buds with his exotic dishes, tempts her heart with his searing soul and makes the case that love should never be denied.
Suffering from an empty nest and very much at loose ends with her life, Emma's journey of self-rediscovery is filled with joy, passion, empathy and pain. It's a performance to savor in a film to remember. And it's expanding beyond just a handful of art houses to the multiplex this weekend to make the pleasure of consuming it all that much easier.
-- Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times film critic
Photo: Edoardo Gabbriellini and Tilda Swinton in a scene from "I Am Love." Credit: AP / Magnolia Pictures
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