Call Me By Your Name: Mature Relationships and Privileged Problems

Film Review

    Call Me By Your Name is from Italian filmmaker, Luca Guadagnino, who has made previous Italian travel films, such as, A Bigger Splash (2012). Set in Italy, during the summer of 1983, this film stars Timothee Chamalet, as a seventeen year old named Elio, a young man who likes to play and transcribe classical music and lives with his family in their 17th Century villa. One day, Elio encounters Oliver (played by Armie Hammer), a 24-year-old college graduate, who is this year’s Summer intern, tasked with helping Elio’s father with academic paperwork. The two young men strike up a friendship that turns into something more.

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    Call Me By Your Name is a very well-told story of growing-up, and finding out more about life. It’s an exceptionally well-done film in an European style of filmmaking. There’s a lot of themes explored here in a very delicate manner. The Italian locations in Lombardy are very beautiful, giving us the sense of place and its overall sensibilities. The way the film is shot, also reminds me of Foreign filmmaking, with a few real moments of great blue background color, and a lot of appreciation of Italian art. The European sensibility style is even present when it comes to the music, with a lot of classical music being played and integrated into the story. The music seems to reflect upon what Elio is thinking and feeling, and is quite-well done.

    In the lead role, Timothee Chamalet, is great as Elio. A young man learning about himself, and enjoying his time in Italy. Elio is a young, worried eyed teenager, who has a lot of coming-of-age problems, which are relatable, in spite of his family’s uncommon wealth and position. Armie Hammer, as Oliver, is a bit of an unbelievable casting choice, as he’s a thirty plus year old playing a twenty four year old, but he’s very good in this role, surprising me in more than one way. Oliver comes off as someone who would be cool to hang out with, and is  also more introspective and mature than Elio. Additionally, Michael Stuhlberg, as Elio’s Dad, might just be the most valuable player (MVP) of the film for his big “you’re a person, make your own decisions” speech, though for a lot of the film, it does feel like he’s just in the background.

    Luca Guadagnino’s direction is really good, and the cinematography by Stella Savino, is beautiful, featuring a lot of shining colored lights. Plus, the few original songs by Surjan Stevens, including the Oscar nominated, “The Mystery of Love”, fit very well into the story. The great James Ivory’s script, likely to win best adapted screenplay this year, is an all-around, well-polished screenplay with a lot of quiet moments, which I appreciated, and also, some funny lines. My favorite line being, “Am I offending you?”, which got a big laugh from the theater audience.             

    Call Me By Your Name is a very good film about male romance and growing-up. It’s not a powerful drama. It’s just a simple film, with no big story, just scattered moments. It works so well, because, at times, it feels really genuine, and the performances are great. Timothee Chamalet’s Oscar nomination is very well-deserved, as is the film’s Best Picture nomination. It's a really good film and one of my favorites this year.

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