Average criticWire grade: B+
While the degree of praise for Luca Guadagnino’s new film “I Am Love” may vary, critics for indieWIRE, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and The Guardian are in agreement about one thing: the formal beauty of this lavish picture speaks for itself.
The film follows a prominent Milanese textile family and the Russian wife of one of the male titans, Emma, played by Tilda Swinton. All critics agree that the film best fulfills the promises of its luxuriant style when Emma falls into a passionate affair with a family friend, and focuses attention on her senses and emotions. The unanimous verdict is that Swinton’s talents take center-stage, and her performance carries the picture.
Discordance between reviewers lies in the overall effectiveness of Guadagnino’s aesthetic tour-de-force. IndieWIRE’s Eric Kohn, for example, finds the imagery appropriately grandiose and describes the movie as “specifically attuned to the powers of it’s medium,” while Betsy Sharkey’s LA Times review is slightly more skeptical, calling the effects “sometimes sumptuous, other times self-indulgent.” Either way, stylistic virtuosity seems to be the film’s greatest success and it’s greatest drawback.