I do spend quite a lot of time on here ragging of excessive use of postmodern irony and specifically the way films use it as an excuse. But there is of course, a flip-side to that coin. Just as as the first faux pas can fatally undermine the reality of your movie, poe-faced self-seriousness and importance equally diminishes your chances of creating an actual meaningful moment, because the movie hits such an unrelenting pitch of dramatic hysteria that it inevitably becomes overwrought. If I Am Love were a performance, it would be an overcooked one, constantly trying to spell out its meaning rather then let it come across organically. And you add this to the fair to medium level of pretentious ( something I don't usually mind in movies or TV, but it was a little too obnoxious this time) and you're in trouble.
Its not a bad movie though, through the sum of its parts, and there's a lot to like here. It looks great, with everything from cities to country to cuisine captured with a loving, roving eye. I think it went after the fashion crowd, as the variety of clothes on display looked as if they would be hypothetically fashionable, but I'll have to cop to having no right to talk about that, because I saw this movie in a red hoodie and tracksuit pants. I think Tilda Swinton is good in the lead, handling both the Italian and Russian languages with aplomb, but she wasn't quite good enough to absolve the movie of its variety of sins, as Audrey Tautou did in last year's Coco Before Chanel, so the juice wasn't quite worth the squeeze. The actual melodrama of it was handled obscenely heavy-handedly, with the characterization of the various family members a bit too broad. I quite enjoyed Pippo Delbono's performance as closed off husband, even if it was an archetype of a role, he played it well.
A case perhaps of the execution justifying the conception, and while the story and messages were heavy handed as fuck, it looked good enough through cinematography, production design and most other areas of technical and artistic expertise, that I guess I'll give it a pass. Its so much worse then it thinks it is though.