I left the movie thinking ‘yikes, what was that about’? I woke up thinking it was brilliant. The title tells you exactly what it is about. It is the Virgin story of a woman whose true nature is to love. Emma was swept into the world of a rich Italian collector when he was traveling in Russia and now lives a cold isolated life as his wife.
There is a stunning lack of words in this film. Luscious meals, gorgeous scenery and expressive faces tell the story. The sex is graphic and intimate. This is a movie that sinks in over time and stays with you.
WARNING: spoilers here.
Here is the breakdown of the movie as a Virgin’s journey.
Emma lives in a Dependent World where she manages a household and protects her eldest son Edoardo and daughter Elisabetta from her husband’s values. She is a sleeping beauty (Price of Protection) until her son meets a friend, Antonio, who feeds her passion for cooking (Opportunity to Shine). Antonio’s food is sensual and enlivening and she is drawn to him (Secret World). He cuts her hair (No Longer Fits Her World; the same act her lesbian daughter did to claim her true self). Emma shares the favorite recipe of Edoardo with Antonio which reveals to Edoardo that she is intimate with Antonio (Caught Shining). They quarrel and Edoardo falls into the swimming pool and is killed instantly (Kingdom in Chaos). Emma admits to her husband she loves Antonio (Chooses Her Light) and is banished from his life (Wanders in the Wilderness). Suddenly recognizing she no longer has to protect her children (Gives Up What Kept Her Stuck) Emma grabs her things and pauses as she flees the house. Elisabetta gives her nod of approval (The Rescue) and Emma is free.
After the shock of the son dieing, in a movie of such subtle previous events, he can be seen as a metaphor for her connection to her husband – a connection that had to die one way or the other for her to grow. Edoardo had married a woman who shared his father’s nature and they were reproducing. The essence of Emma was doomed in Edoardo on many levels. It is a tragic story because Edoardo dies, but also a positive story in that Emma breaks free.