Luca Guadagnino’s story about a rich Italian family centered around Tilda Swinton’s Emma Recchi, a Russian trophy wife. Swinton, as always, brought complexity and soul to her lead role; the photography was beautiful; the music - re-purposed John Adams - added to the arty vibe; yet I found myself removed from the movie. The cool composure of the characters kept me at arm’s length, even as I admired the individual elements that came together in this well-made package.
The ending changed that. After an entire movie of characters acting as they are supposed to, giving only small hints of their inner longings - or, in Emma’s case, acting on them impulsively - it overflowed with emotion, showing longing, regret, hope, and grief in a wordless coda, with Adams’ lovely music swirling around the characters. Suddenly it was clear: that reserve, that slow build, was setting up this break, and made the show of emotion in small gestures that much more powerful. I Am Love earned its tears; it does not throw emotional content at you to get you to cry, it crafts an ending that grows perfectly, almost inevitably, out of the characters it has so painstakingly portrayed.