On Wednesday night, Magnolia Pictures and Peggy Siegal hosted the premiere for Luca Guadagnino’s I Am Love, which opens in theaters this weekend and will expand through the summer. The lush and ravishing film has made monumental stops on the festival circuit over the last nine months: Venice, Toronto, Sundance, Berlin, etc. etc. At every stop, critics and audiences have embraced the film, and I’ve been dying to see it. Tilda Swinton stars as Emma, devoted wife and mother of a wealthy Italian family. When her son befriends a chef, her world is ripped apart over food and sex, she and the chef embark on a clandestine affair. And, that’s pretty much the whole plot, but the execution of the film makes it a dazzling experience.
Full of beautiful locations and soaring music, Guadagnino showcases his talents as a director, arranging the elements in operatic fashion. In the end, I Am Love is a melodrama and a soap opera, but altogether satisfying. Swinton gives another one of her engrossing performances, admirably speaking both Italian and Russian, two languages she had not yet known. As the longing, passionate, and somewhat selfish Emma, she carries the visual elements with ease. A bit of a warning: I Am Love is food porn, so don’t watch it on an empty stomach. Thankfully, the after-party at Barbounia (sponsored, like the screening, by Acqua di Parma and Tuttobello) featured a healthy assortment of dishes (flatbreads, shrimp, pizza, ceviche) and you could spot the audience devouring all that was around them. I Am Love has that kind of voracious impact. Here is the film’s terrific U.S. trailer: