I AM LOVE
A tragic love story set at the turn of the millennium. The lives of Milans wealthy Recchi family are undergoing sweeping changes behind the walls of their stunning villa. Eduardo Sr., the family patriarch, has decided to name a successor to the reigns of the family textile company, surprising everyone by splitting power between his son Tancredi, and grandson Edo (Flavio Parenti). But Edo dreams of opening a restaurant with his friend Antonio, a handsome and mouth-wateringly talented chef.
At the heart of the family is Tancredi's elegant wife Emma (Tilda Swinton), a Russian immigrant who has adopted the culture of Milan. Struggling to cope with the feeling that she no longer has a place in her childrens lives, Emma travels to Nice, stopping to soak up the Italian Riviera in Sanremo where she feels a sense of joy and freedom that comes from being in a new place on her own.
A passionate encounter with Antonio (Edoardo Gabbriellini), whose restaurant garden is in the nearby countryside, helps Emma escape the loneliness and isolation of her life. Faced with reality, however, Emma learns that freedom comes with tragic consequences.
An exquisite feast of sensual pleasures thats almost certainly the most elegant piece of cinema youll see this year. The TimesI Am Love
Language: Italian, Russian and English
Run time: 120 mins
Release Date: June 24, 2010
We open on a journey through the idyllic snow covered streets of Milan in the run up to Christmas. We enter a stunning, bourgeois mansion house: the home of the wealthy Recchi family. The families are gathering for a birthday dinner in honor of the patriarchal figure of Edoardo Recchi Sr. We are introduced to Emma, the stylish head of the household who is overseeing arrangements with the servants.
With his health in a poor state, Edoardo Sr is preparing to hand over the reigns to the Recchi textile business. It seems a foregone conclusion when Edoardo Sr announces that he will be handing over to his son Tancredi. However, when he tells them that his grandson Edoardo Jr (Edo), Emma & Tancredi's son, will have joint control there is a ripple of surprise at the dinner table. Gianluca, Edo's brother is left out of the deal.
Later on, a young man, Antonio, arrives at the house to deliver a cake to Edo. Having beaten him in a race earlier that day, the chef has brought a consolation present. Emma is introduced to him and thinks nothing more of the encounter.
Some months later, Emma by chance comes across a note from her daughter Betta to Edo. In the letter, she tells Edo that she has fallen in love with a woman. With her daughter living in the UK where she is studying, Emma is starting to feel that her children have their own lives in which she no longer has a part. She struggles to take this new information on board.
Meanwhile, Edo and Antonio are hatching a plan to launch their own restaurant. With Antonio's culinary flair and Edo's business acumen, they seem to have the perfect partnership. The task of persuading Antonio's restaurateur father to let them use his land falls to Edo.
When Edoardo Sr dies, Tancredi decides that the best option for the Recchi family business is to sell it to the highest bidder.
Edo throws a party in honor of his fiancée Eva. Emma is surprised to find Antonio in the kitchen. Edo has brought him in to provide the catering.
The Recchi women: Emma, her mother-in-law Allegra ('Rori'), and Eva meet at Antonio's restaurant for lunch. There is some tension as the old order size up the newcomer. However, Emma is seduced by Antonio's cuisine and finds herself induced into a state of reverie. When she congratulates him, he tells her about his house in Sanremo, the proposed site for his and Edo's new restaurant.
Shortly after, Betta returns home, with her hair cropped short. She confides in Emma about her girlfriend and asks her to come to Nice for her exhibition. Emma passes through Sanremo on her way to Nice. On arrival in Sanremo, we get the sense that Emma is enjoying the sense of freedom that comes from being in a new place on her own. Then, she catches sight of Antonio in the street and on an impulse, decides to follow him. He meets with an acquaintance and Emma dives into a bookshop. When she spies him outside the shop, she rushes out with an art book in her hands and bumps into Antonio. In her agitated state she forgets to pay for the book.
Antonio invites her to his house to show her where his and Edo's restaurant will be. On the way to his remote country home, Antonio explains that the land belongs to his grandfather.
Whilst Antonio goes to dig for vegetables, Emma explores the beautiful surroundings. Emma is aroused when she spots Antonio getting changed. Whilst she relaxes, enjoying the sunshine and tranquility, Antonio appears and the pair kiss passionately.
Upon returning home, Emma can barely contain her elation and shock at what she has done. But back in the Recchi residence, Emma's loneliness and isolation as her children are all becoming independent is palpable. Her only ally is their faithful servant Ida who becomes uncomfortable when Emma attempts intimate conversation.
Edo brings news to Antonio that Antonio's father has agreed to sign over half his land in Sanremo for their restaurant. Antonio has conflicted emotions and Edo is hurt and confused at his muted reaction. Edo picks up the art book that Emma had left behind - Antonio snatches it from him. Edo tells Antonio that he'd like him to cook for an important business dinner that his father is arranging.
Emma goes to Sanremo to discuss the menu for the coming dinner with Antonio. Unable to contain themselves, they head to his house. Antonio tenderly undresses her and they have unbridled sex. Becoming increasingly close, Emma relates to Antonio her childhood in Russia. She also tells him about Edo's favorite dish that she cooks for him, a Russian soup called 'oucha'. Antonio cuts Emma's hair into a short bob. At one with nature and now totally at ease with each other, their bodies entwine amongst the flowers.
In the meantime, the Recchi men meet with their potential buyer in London. Edo is horrified that they plan to sell the company and opposes the sale. He is desperate to cling to family tradition. However, Tancredi is adamant and insists that they must look to the future.
Edo returns to Italy distraught. He tries to visit Antonio in Sanremo. Antonio is out in the fields with Emma and Edo finds Emma's hair cuttings on the floor. A shadow of doubt starts to creep in.
The day of the grand dinner arrives and the purchasers of the Recchi business are attending. Emma seems on edge and ill at ease. Then, when the first course of oucha arrives, Edo finally pieces everything together: one look at his mother confirms his worst fears. Edo storms off and Emma gives chase. Emma is unable to convince him and they row, leading to a tragic incident.
Spurred on by the crushing events of the following days, Emma admits to Tancredi that she is in love with Antonio. Scandalized, Tancredi tells her she is no longer part of the family.
Finally cut free from the shackles of her past, Emma runs off leaving a shocked family in her wake.