Italian cinema has come a long way from Marco Bellocchio’s Devil in the Flesh (1986), in which a couple engaging in graphic sex discuss the Bolshevik Revolution, to Luca Guadagnino’s I Am Love, in which a couple engaging in graphic sex discuss how to make fish soup. Or has it?
Both films are, in their way, about politics and sex, the politics in Guadagnino’s melodrama being of the family kind. His effort opens at a birthday party for the patriarch of the Recchi family, owners of a giant Milanese textile company, and as boring as viewers might find this fête, it’s even more so for Emma (Tilda Swinton), the Russian-born wife of the family heir-to-be.
When her son Edo (Flavio Parenti) and daughter Betta (Alba Rohrwacher) show signs of rebellion, her Russian soul also gets restless. Then she samples the shrimp salad of Edo’s chef pal Antonio (Edoardo Gabbriellini), and nothing is the same again. Sumptuous, overheated, and ridiculous, Love is a visual delight — the opening montage of a snowy Milan alone make it worthwhile