I don’t care what some trust-fund fashionista sitting in their tastefully distressed London studio says – I Am Love is dull, uninspiring and over-long.
The capital’s trendy champagne-swilling art set have spent the last week quivering in their Luella Bartley boots over Tilda Swinton’s latest film in which she plays the matriarch of a wealthy Milanese family.
It has a “vibrant and formally irreverent style that luminously articulates its themes of passion and constraint” one of them tells me, which just proves what a lot of pretentious crap they come out with.
Set in the stunning urban mansion of the ultra-rich Recchi family, I Am Love tells the story of Emma whose life is dominated by her duties to husband and home.
At a formal dinner party the head of the dynasty, the aging Edoardo announces he is to pass down his business to son Tancredi and grandson Edo. At the event chef Antonio, Edo’s best friend, calls to drop off a cake as a consolation for beating his pal in a race earlier that day.
Eventually, after about an hour, Emma and Antonio start flirting and then start a passionate relationship. They romp around in the countryside once or twice and then, about twenty minutes from the end, there is finally some movement – a twist that leaves the Recchi clan in ruins.
Put simply, nothing really happens until right at the end. Fine if the proceeding hour and a half had been building up tension and laying down plot, but the long-awaited moment of drama just pops up as if the director had suddenly remembered the concept.
The camera swoops around the family’s grand villa but gets distracted with things it passes. It twists to catch sight of a cupboard door or a blank wall for no particular reason. At other times director Guadagnino’s attempts to be clever just don’t come off – a sex scene is cut with shots of insects on flowers – and it just flops into cliché.
There are some potentially really interesting characters within the family circle but apart from Emma none are given room to develop. The director takes too much for himself when their stories are good enough to speak for themselves.
If you don’t care about being seen on ‘the scene’ then it’s really not worth sitting through. Few of the trendy gallery-goers who claim to ‘just adore it’ will have bothered to anyway.