Call Me by Your Name is a romantic coming-of-age drama film directed by Luca Guadagnino and it is based on the novel of the same name by André Aciman. It stars Timothée Chalamet, Armie Hammer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar, Esther Garrel, and Victoire Du Bois.
The Story/The Direction:
Set in Northern Italy in 1983, this film follows 17-year old Elio Perlman (Chalamet) who with his father (Stuhlbarg) and mother (Caser) visit their summer home. His father is a professor of Greco-Roman culture and his mother is a translator whom every year host an intern. This year has an American doctoral student named Oliver (Hammer) joining them. As the summer continues, Elio and Oliver's relationship moves from strangers to friends to lovers.
Guadagnino takes his time to develop his characters and their environment in this fairly simple story of a summer romance. There's no rush or push to get the main two characters together and thus feels more authentic that way. Summer is the time of year where you take your time to do work while also leisuring around by reading, playing piano, and pluck fruits from the surrounding trees. Guadagnino makes the audience fall in love with the environment as the central characters fall in love with each other.
Elio is the typical fairly innocent young boy that also has a huge intellect thanks to his upbringing. He however is not only the typical nerd kid who goes fro the handsome American. He is confident in his knowledge of the world and how he feels about it. The only thing he is not sure of is his attraction to Oliver. Chalamet is a young actor to watch as he seems to be the golden boy this year also starring in the acclaimed Lady Bird as well. Opposite to his role in that film, here is shows a boy who is longing for a lover but is frustrated as it is one that is for most of the film forbidden to him. Hammer is that typical blonde American who travels and has a summer relationship with someone abroad. He is desired by almost everyone around him because he is different but genuinely shows feelings towards Elio. Their relationship feels very authentic and what makes it more tragic is that the audience and Elio know it cannot last because at the end of the summer Oliver is going to leave. Guadagnino is able to get you to care about these two characters even though you know it will not end well.
The only flaw with this film is that it is slow paced film. When an authentic romance has to be built over only a three month period, each moment goes by in a very prolonged way so it feels like a longer period of time. This allows the audience to see and feel everything around both Elio and Oliver however it can get intermittently boring.
While the film has fitful monotonous moments that may hinder re-watch-ability, this film's story is very touching and is a beautiful film to look at. It is a story of the first love between these characters who are played fantastically by Hammer and Chalamet, both of which could get nominations for Best Supporting Actor and Best Actor, respectively. The ultimate romance story may be a tragic one but as Elio's father reminds him to remember how fortunate he was to experience this journey, any viewer should do the same. If you are in the mood for a good romance story, you should definitely check out this great film.
Rating: 4.5/5.0 bowties
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