"In every sense, I Am Love is a stunning achievement," declares Jay Weissberg in Variety (where Nick Vivarelli reports on the press conference in Venice). "Luca Guadagnino does more than expertly craft space; he exposes the world of a wealthy Milanese family with astonishing accuracy, recalling Visconti in his ability to analyze upper-class mores and make them feel vital. Marked by flawless art direction and casting, this is the sort of film that sends viewers racing back to the helmer's earlier pics, asking 'What did I miss?'"
For Natasha Senjanovic, writing in Hollywood Reporter, "I Am Love starts off dynamically, even with its old-fashioned credits and majestic symphonic flair. No coincidence, the film is a modern melodrama, both sweeping and constrained, that blooms slowly. Like the director's muse, Tilda Swinton, who worked on the project with Guadagnino for seven years. But it is so tailored around the actress that hers is ultimately the only fully developed character."
"From its 50s-style opening titles set over a snow-covered Milan and to John Adams scores, I Am Love can't help but recall the Douglas Sirk themes of an earlier film age," writes Fionnuala Halligan in Screen, "not to mention Visconti, so it's a surprise to realise that it is all set more or less in the present day. Guadagnino, who developed this with his The Protagonists star Tilda Swinton, evidently relishes playing with audience expectations and it's enjoyable to be in this experience with them."
"Unfortunately, the brilliant minutiae of Swinton's work are curiously at odds with the self-styled operatic excess of the film itself, and the two never quite see eye to eye," finds Guy Lodge at In Contention.
"[B]esides Swinton," notes Camillo de Marco at Cineuropa, "the cast includes Gabriele Ferzetti, who represents 60 years of Italian cinema (from Blasetti to Antonioni and Sergio Leone), playing the patriarch; Marisa Berenson (working with an actress who has collaborated with Kubrick, Visconti and Bob Fosse is probably a dream for many young filmmakers); the startling [Pippo] Delbono, currently one of Italy's most unconventional theatre writers and actors; Alba Rohrwacher, who is set to become a true cult figure with her acting body that goes beyond boundaries (she is a highly credible daughter for Emma/Swinton)."
Update, 9/17: Declares Matt Riviera: "I Am Love is an unqualified masterpiece: there may not be a better film this year."
Update, 9/22: "The film may not be for all tastes, but succumbing leads one to experience an ending with a devastating release," writes Nicolas Rapold for the L Magazine.