"I Am Love" takes us into the cosseted world of the stylish and beautiful Recchi family, who own highly successful textile mills in Milan. Originally from Russia, matriarch Emma (Swinton) has integrated herself seamlessly into this Italian dynasty. Fissures appear in their well-ordered, well-appointed lives when succession plans are announced at the family company, and Emma's beloved son Edo (Parenti) is elevated to share power with his father. Later, when Edo introduces Emma to his friend Antonio (Gabriellini), a gifted chef, an unlikely, all-consuming romance develops, threatening to tear the whole family apart.
This visually sumptuous film stimulates all the senses as its tale of forbidden romance and simmering family dysfunction unfolds. Swinton, a Brit who speaks Italian and Russian throughout, gives a virtuosic performance that anchors the narrative; her passion and sense of liberation as she eyes her young lover literally jumps off the screen at you. That said, if there ever was a director's picture, this is it. Guadagnino's nimble camerawork brings a mesmerizing immediacy to the proceedings, making these telegenic actors look even more stunning, and the production design even more breathtaking. If this is not a masterpiece, it's close to it.