Cast: Armie Hammer, Timothee Chamalet, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar
Director: Luca Guadagnino
Synopsis from Rotten Tomatoes: CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, the new film by Luca Guadagnino, is a sensual and transcendent tale of first love, based on the acclaimed novel by André Aciman. It’s the summer of 1983 in the north of Italy, and Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet), a precocious 17- year-old American-Italian, spends his days in his family’s 17th century villa transcribing and playing classical music, reading, and flirting with his friend Marzia (Esther Garrel). Elio enjoys a close relationship with his father (Michael Stuhlbarg), an eminent professor specializing in Greco-Roman culture, and his mother Annella (Amira Casar), a translator, who favor him
Every once in a while, a film comes out that so perfectly captures life and all of its nuances. From victories and defeats, trails and tribulations, heartaches and growing pains, Call Me by Your Name displays the struggles of adolescence in way very few movies have ever done.
The film’s story and symbolism really drive home what it is like to grow up and feel your first adult relationships. No relationship is perfect and traditionally in your teenage years, nothing lasts forever. One of the elements that stands out is that even those Chamalet and Hammer have a gay relationship, the story focuses on their love and friendship instead of their sexuality. Realistically, any one of us could be in the position of Elio (Chamalet) at some point in our lives and focusing on how people interact with one another instead of who they are attracted to makes the point even stronger. Something else that any great movie does is it makes you rethink any potential criticisms you had about it. Throughout my viewing of Call Me by Your Name, I had two main points where I thought the film was weak, but by the end, I realized that those flaws were completely irrelevant or intentional. I thought the film dragged a little bit at the beginning, but then I realized that this is supposed to put you in an environment that makes you feel like you a part of the same endless summer that Elio is in, and this makes the melancholy ending so much more painful to watch. My other concern was that they did not really show any of Oliver’s (Hammer) work as doctoral candidate, but then I realized that the situation that brought Oliver to Italy did not matter, as the bond that he built with Elio is much more important.
Almost every single character displays great chemistry with one another, which helps make every scene of this film special. For the first half of the movie, I thought Hammer stole the show. He was so charismatic and charming, yet also caring and sensitive in his relationship with Elio. Chamalet and Hammer are an incredible on-screen ensemble and every moment they are together feels genuine and real. The ending of the film displays Chamalet’s power as a dramatic actor. Specifically the final scene, I have not seen a movie in a long time that makes you feel as empty and sad at the end, and this is 100% because of the way Chamalet shows us just how many of us have felt at his age in his situation. The lead up to this scene is another great shared performance by Chamalet, but this time it is with his father (Stuhlbarg). The series of dialogue that they have shows not only the value of life experience, but open-mindedness. Many parents in his situation would have acted far more angrily than he did, so showing the opposite of that gives us something we do not see very often in film; true, unconditional love and the value of friendship and pain. This can only be done through the work of these performers and I cannot think of a recent movie that has done it better.
Overall, I have absolutely nothing bad to say about this film. It was beautiful every step of the way, from the acting, to the story, to the score. Every part of this film matters, even something as small and meaningless as a fruit fly can represent something much bigger than all of us. Up until now, I have never made an official endorsement or disapproval of any film I have reviewed. Tonight, I am breaking that trend by officially asking anyone who reads this article to please, take a couple of hours out of your day and go see Call Me by Your Name. You will not regret it.
Overall Score: 10/10