Follow us on

Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: I Am Love

October 10th, 2010

I Am Love - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

Summer of 2010 wasn't a particularly good season for limited releases. Sure, there were a few films that opened in just a handful of theaters, but went on to earn some measure of mainstream success. However, there were no breakout hits. One of these lesser success stories was I Am Love, which opened well and through aggressive expansion was able to earn more than $4 million at the box office. This is especially impressive for a foreign language. Will I be adding my voice to the choir, or will I be a voice of opposition?

The Movie

The film is set in Milan, Italy, and focuses on the Recchi family, who are very rich thanks to their textile factory. The film starts at a fancy dinner, at which the patriarch of the family, Edoardo, plans to announce who will succeed him in the business he founded. He names his son, Pippo Delbono, which is no surprise, and his grandson, Edoardo, Jr., which does come as a bit of a surprise. Later that evening, the family is visited by Antonio Biscaglia, a chef that had beaten Edoardo, Jr. in a rowing race earlier that day. Antonio came to give Edoardo a gift, a cake, because it was a very close race, but he doesn't want to stay, despite being asked by both Edoardo and his mother, Emma.

Later on, when Edoardo proposes to his girlfriend, Eva, Antonio prepares the meal so celebrate and he and Emma meet again. This time around, instead of leaving quietly, Antonio gets Emma to try her hand at cooking a delicate dish. Emma then arranges a meal at Antonio's restaurant with her, her mother-in-law, and her soon to be daughter-in-law and has a Ratatouille moment while eating her meal. Literally. She's eating prawn ratatouille when something in her awakens.

Up to that point, Emma's life had been pretty refined, or perhaps restrained would be a better word. Her life is filled with devotion to the traditions of her family, which she has never quite belonged to, due to her Russian heritage. She's done everything a good Italian wife should do, or at least everything that is expected of the wife of a rich Italian businessman, but after helping prepare the for social events, she prefers to spend them quietly by herself. Her just recognizing that she has passions is something of a coming of age story, or perhaps a coming of middle-age.

That story, and Tilda Swinton's performance, is at the heart of the movie; however, it is not the only selling point. The acting is amazing from everyone. The film looks fantastic. While the musical score is incredible.

On the downside, the term "melodrama" has been tossed around by more than a few critics, and it is hard to argue with that. Even many positive reviews used the term in a less than flattering fashion.

That said, the positives outweigh the negatives by a huge margin and this film is absolutely worth checking out.

The Extras

I only have the Blu-ray to review, which has a good selection of extras for a limited release. Firstly, there's an audio commentary track with Tilda Swinton and Luca Guadagnino, who wrote, directed, and produced the movie. There is a 14-minute behind-the-scenes featurette and interviews with nearly a dozen members of the cast and crew with a combined running time of just over 70 minutes.

The film is not a big budget movie and while it looks beautiful, it is not the best Blu-ray I've seen, in a technical sense, with details being a little soft. The audio is better, but again it is not something you will pop into your machine to show off your home theater system. Then again, the Blu-ray only costs about 10% more, so it is clearly the better deal.

The Verdict

I Am Love features amazing performances, production design that doesn't betray its limited budget, and in-depth extras on both the DVD and the Blu-ray. It is absolutely worth picking up, while it is worth paying the extra little bit for High Definition.

- Submitted by:

Filed under: Video Review, Io sono l’amore