Director: Luca Guadagnino
Starring: Timothée Chalamet, Armie Hammer, Michael Stuhlbarg
Review Author: Tiffany
This film is beautiful. Should you (wrongly) decide you don’t want to read the rest of this review, that is all I want you to know. It is simply beautiful in every possible understanding of that.
Based on a novel by André Aciman and directed by Luca Guadagnino, Call Me by Your Name is a love story, in the truest sense of the word. Oliver (Armie Hammer) is a graduate student who visits a professor in Italy to study for the summer. There, he meets the professor’s son, Elio (Timothée Chalamet). What ensues is a summer of all things romantic: the uncertainty, the butterflies, the passion.
The cinematography and the music transport us instantly into the world of the film; a small Italian village, a place to which Elio is familiar, and Oliver is a stranger. Somewhere we’ve all dreamed of in some way. A land of long evenings and good food, of a careless existence. A place that somehow, we connect with instantly. There is not a long period of exposition, we arrive with Oliver and Elio shows us around, and that’s it, we’re there.
The story itself unfolds in a seamless way. It is somehow entrancing. The slow pace only acts as a way of sucking you in, mimicking the way the characters ultimately fall for each other. Yes, there are a fair amount of risqué scenes, but these are done in such a classy, artistic way. While not one to watch with your mother, it is definitely not a “fifty shades” vibe.
The actors in this film are exceptional. Timothée Chalamet, at only 20, holds the film together in a way that is far beyond his years. Armie Hammer also plays an absolute blinder.
The only issue with the film, however, does lie in the casting. In the book, the characters are 17 and 24. This is an age gap, but not anything drastic. However, at the time of shooting Chalamet was 20 and Hammer was 29. But Chalamet is a young looking 20, particularly when put next to 6’5 Hollywood hero Hammer. The drastic difference between the two made me initially concerned about just how young Elio was, I had guessed about 13/14. In which case, it would all be a bit uncomfortable.
The film ends with a remarkable monologue by Elio’s father character. His blind acceptance of his son’s sexuality and genuine love for him is truly special. Something that some people out there might just need to see/hear. “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 that you’ve felt”.
This is the story we all concocted in our early teenage years when claiming that we kissed a boy on holidays last summer. And it is told far better than we ever told it. In fact, far better than a lot of stories are told.
This film is just completely and utterly beautiful.
Rating: 4.2 / 5 Peach Schnapps