Tilda Swinton is less an actress than a strange icon: tall, bony, red-haired and very intense. She dominates her films. In this case, it's a film by a little-known Sicilian named Luca Guadagnino, whose effort is nothing less than a swaggering return of Italy's glorious cinematic marriage of technical flair and multigenerational family sagas. I Am Love
opens confidently and rarely loses steam. It opens to a throbbing minimalist string quartet by John Adams as we descend into the wintry palace of a dying Milan industrial magnate. Swinton is Emma, the Russian-born wife of the industrialist's dutiful son, who expects to receive the keys to the factory. The film is a succession of opulent set pieces, moving from the family compound in Milan to the freedom and romance promised by the Riviera to the cold business dealings of London. Guadagnino's talent is excessive at times, but moviegoers are mostly the better for it.