The core story of this movie: A seemingly happily married woman, Emma Recchi (Tilda Swinton), falls in love with a gifted and soulful chef, Antonio Biscaglia (Edoardo Gabbriellini). The married woman is around 50; the chef is in his early 30s. The woman is married to the son of a wealthy industrialist; the chef is a close friend of the married woman's eldest son. Of course, a heavy price is attached to their affair, but nothing in the world (social, moral, financial) has the power to stop it from happening. Not long after their first meeting (during a dinner party), the two become passionate lovers and turn their lives (and the lives around them) upside down.
The destination of the first part of the movie, and the point from which the second part departs, is a sequence that begins in rural Italy and ends in the middle of London—it begins with grass, insects, skin, knees, kissing, and fucking, and ends in an office space in Aviva Tower (modernism), which is between the Lloyd's Building (postmodernism) and St. Mary Axe (globalism). In the office space, the rich Italian family is meeting with a neoliberal Sikh. He wants to buy their textile company and transform it into a global operation. The Sikh goes on and on about the importance of breaking with the past and becoming a member of the new economy. For him, the meaning of human history is the realization of a world market that not only provides everyone with good products but also spiritual satisfaction.
In this amazing sequence, we move from the human biological condition, which is a part of nature (bugs, plants, sunlight), to the human cultural condition, which is more and more integrated by the leading technologies of the new economy. And the movement from the natural to the cultural is beautifully shot. Indeed, the whole movie is a work of beauty. Director Luca Guadagnino has what the world of cinema needs more of: a fearless commitment to the beautiful in all of its forms and locations—faces, bodies, clothes, streets, buildings, interior spaces, foods. I Am Love is a visual masterpiece and one of the most important movies of the decade we recently completed.