This film is a slow tango that slowly builds to its dramatic conclusion. It centres on the machinations of a wealthy Milanese family who own a textile business. On the surface they are a loving and close-knit family but as the film progresses the cracks begin to show. At the centre of the family is wife and mother, Emma (Tilda Swinton) who is the epitome of elegance and refinement. When she becomes involved with Antonio, the chef friend of her adult son, it seems at first like a scandalous action that defies explanation. What would compel a rich, sophisticated, adored, middle-aged woman to have an affair with a younger man, not a toy boy, but an average-looking man, a cook. It is initially puzzling why Emma is prepared to risk so much. Her husband, Tancredi, appears to be a caring partner, but small signs begin to appear which convey Emma’s status as an outsider. It is this outsider status which explains her sudden obsession with Antonio. Despite it’s operatic nature, this is also a film of great subtlety. It shows how a woman’s identity can gradually be subsumed without her even really noticing, until something – a catalyst- puts things into stark relief. Small changes, like losing her name and bigger ones like losing her language begin to accumulate until she is just an stylish husk of her former self. This is also a film about class and one of the most moving scenes is where Emma has to say goodbye to her housekeeper, an ally in invisibility. Tilda Swinton is incandescent in this film. Directed by Luca Guadagnino, it’s one of my favourites of 2010.