When a throat infection forces a singer ( Tilda Swinton) to spend some time recovering with her boyfriend (Matthias Schoenaerts) on a sunny Spanish isle, all couldn’t be more wonderful. This is until her former lover interest and music producer (Ralph Fiennes) turns up out of the blue with his daughter (Dakota Fanning). He is a loud, obnoxious but also utterly charming type. A real human tornado of emotions and words. So now they have to come to terms with each other, their past, their present and their future.
When you have a film about human drama and importantly human relations, it can be hard to condense emotional states into a small frame, set or scene space. Theatre does this very well as it allows the emotive performance to establish and involve. Film can do this but often it can rely on visual restraint or excess. Take the works of Antonioni, Bergman or Bertolucci to see the example of films that use form as translator of emotive. That use form as a device to negotiate states of being.
Here we have a film that uses performance to translate emotional being and emotional states. This is what director Luca Guadagnino did also in his film I AM LOVE to good effect. Here it falls a little flat with cast and performance balance. Fiennes is very good, if not occasionally steering to excess. Swinton has the gauge of her character, she is emotionally unstable and her voice being lost has stripped her of her self. Fanning is under used and seems to have been cast to be a fish and then Schoenaerts is a tortured, artist and kind soul…but lacks definition and simple looks sexy. I feel that the film was a work of catharsis for its director but failed to stir the view to anything but anger at people with so much, crying about so little….