In the midst of summer's bombastic, grandiose landscape, there's a film that makes up in melodrama for its lack of star wattage and special effects: I Am Love. The Italian-language film, directed by Luca Guadagnino and starring his friend and longtime collaborator Tilda Swinton, is a lush, intoxicating tale that features no grander adventure than a carefully-worded corporate merger, and at one point, a retreat to a remote Italian village for some afternoon delight, and yet, it's more engaging and more powerful than the vast majority of its competition.

A glorious epic that feels a little bit like Luchino Visconti's The Leopard by way of Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia, I Am Love is a truly great film that offers substance at the heart of the season's spectacle.

Swinton plays Emma, the immaculately put-together matriarch of one generation of the Recchi clan. Poached from her native Russia as a teenager and plopped into a marriage of affluence if not much affection, she devoutly attends to the needs of her family without complaint, and celebrates its success even on the eve of her father-in-law Edoardo's (Gabriele Ferzetti) retirement.