Call Me By Your Name (2017)
dir. Luca Guadagnino
R / 2h 12m / Drama, Romance
Gotham Award Winer (2017) – Breakthrough Actor, Timothee Chalamet
Gotham Award Winner (2017) – Best Feature
Critic’s Choice Award Winner (2018) – Best Adapted Screenplay
Academy Award Winner (2018) – Best Adapted Screenplay
How you live your life is your business, just remember, our hearts and our bodies are given to us only once. And before you know it, your heart is worn out, and, as for your body, there comes a point when no one looks at it, much less wants to come near it. Right now, there’s sorrow, pain. Don’t kill it – and with it the joy you’ve felt.
Another film I think of fondly whilst on my hiatus is Call Me By Your Name. I love Timothee Chalamet. Like, love him love him. I dream about him. My husband says my type is wildly famous dark haired skinny boys and he’s at the top of the list. Ok sure. I have no rebuttal. So anyway, I thought Timothee would be the only thing I would love about this film because I thought it would be one of those try hard coming of age gay indie pretentious European festival films. What a mouthful. We all know a film or two like that.
I left my viewing with so many feelings. I mean, SO MANY FEELINGS. Of course there was heartbreak, but there was also adoration, nostalgia, wanderlust, and, something I weigh heavily in films – a fucking good dad.
Plot: It’s the 1980’s somewhere in the Italian countryside. Seventeen year old Elio (Chalamet) is the son of a professor who hosts foreign exchange students each summer at their beautiful villa – this year it’s the American, Oliver (Hammer), and he immediately leaves a lasting impression on each of them. There are hot days and long nights to be had – there are places to be explored, love to be found, and lessons to be learned.
First and foremost – this film is visually stunning. The Italian countryside in summer is so lush and bustling, but also quiet and nurturing. Every morning feels like the last, and the breakfasts had on the patio are recurring and joyous. There are tables under trees, lights strung, laughter, and love in the air. Windows are open, shirts are open, hearts are open. When I think about an eternal summer I think about this place, and I want to be there.
Additionally, it is very audibly stunning – the soundtrack is graced with classical piano and Sufjan Stevens’ INCREDIBLE voice. He wrote two songs for this film exclusively – Mystery of Love and Visions of Gideon as well as providing a remaster of Futile Devices from 2010. One of my favorite things about this film, though, is that it is fluidly spoken in three languages: English, French, and Italian. There is also some German in there but not enough to really count. It was so surprising to me how easily it was to follow along even though there were pretty constant language barriers.
The scenes unfurling with Elio and Oliver are explorative and dreamy. Their journey is lazily approached at first, with still a quiet, apprehensive romance in the air. Romance, nonetheless. For half of this film you wouldn’t believe the love story is between the two of them. That is beautiful in it’s own way – Elio and Oliver both endeavor in other, hetero normative relationships throughout their own relationship but find each other across rooms and with quiet stares or in an art piece or piano tune.
For this film to feel so effortless in beauty and summer loftiness, two men acknowledging an attraction for each other is not portrayed as such. You’ll miss it if you don’t pay attention – it is in the little things at first. Stares. Smiles. Interest. Then it moves to much bigger things – pendants, shirts, a graze of the hand in public. It’s a little ritual of calling the other by their name. But it is not without difficulty. They struggle with their feelings, often being physically aggressive and shoving each other or pushing one away, giving silent treatments or avoiding eye contact. But their connection does grow sweet. Their secret is one worth keeping. There is friendship, and there is love. There is togetherness, and there is goodbye.
It is a different kind of love – a love that may not be destiny, but a love that has purpose. Purpose doesn’t always have to have utility, it is very important to not confuse that as anyone exploring similar paths or walks of life. You can be one way, steadfastly, even! But sometimes there is a person out there for you that turns your world upside down. That person could change you, in a sense, but it is only a part of you that was previously afraid to surface. The right environment, the right love, the right support, will bring a person to engage fully in the human experience.
Nothing has been dug up. It is what has been brought out.
Call Me By Your Name does its fair share of exploring relationships. Yes, it is a love story at face value, but, deeper, it is a story of loss. It is a story of a child tasting the world and losing it, and what is arguably the most important part of this film, having a family that is utterly supportive. My heart softens watching Elio interact with his parents. They are loving, attentive, intelligent, and inclusive. He is at the end of his childhood but he still hugs his mother in the hallway, confides in his dad, plays music for them, and reads poetry on the couch with them. They are a family of academics that appear to actually enjoy each other and a child has flourished under their care. It is beautiful to see.
If you know me, or if you’ve read some of my reviews, you know I am a sucker for an incredible dad. And wow, Mr. Perlman (Stuhlbarg), got dad of the year (2017) in my book. There is a final scene, and I don’t want to lay it out here word for word even though it is beautiful and heartfelt and encouraging and sweet – because I want you to watch this film and I want you to see how easy it is to love your child and be a parent that they need even in the face of adversity with your inner self. I cry every time Elio sits on that couch with his dad and his dad says all the right words. It inspires me to be like Mr. Perlman with my own child, and if you get nothing else out of this film then let this parenting 101 be it.
I can’t pick a favorite part of this – I love the beginning with the scenery and slow summer life, I love the middle with the slight flirts and new love, and I love the end with the sadness and the comforting. Each part of this movie is like a different movie with something new to notice and love and it all melts together for a feel good, real coming of age story with high highs and lower lows.
I am not going to bring up the peach situation. But I am going to brag and say I have the soundtrack on vinyl in the peach variant and it’s the most beautiful album I own.
To end this accidentally ridiculously long review, I just want to say that the closing credits are the most beautiful / sad / heartbreaking I have ever seen and may ever see. Can’t make it through this one without tears. Wouldn’t want to!
I remember everything.
9/10 – for you Elio, I mean Oliver, I mean Elio, I mean Oliver, I mean