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 young man, 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 with the fruits of high culture in a setting that overflows with natural delights. While Elio's sophistication and intellectual gifts suggest he is already a fully-fledged adult, there is much that yet remains innocent and unformed about him, particularly about matters of the heart. One day, Oliver (Armie Hammer), a 24-year-old American college graduate student working on his...Written by
Sony Pictures Classics
Director Luca Guadagnino explained in an interview how he struggled with shooting the scene at the Piave Memorial, and he said it was Armie Hammer who finally suggested doing a one-shot. See more »
In the final shot of Elio at the fireplace, a housefly can be seen crawling on his shirt. Flies don't live long enough for it to be in the house that time of year, when snow has fallen (and during Hanukkah). See more »
Elio (of 17), a young musician, starts exploring his sexuality and learning about love with his father's student, Oliver (visibly older), who's staying at Elio's family home in Italy for the season.
First of all, the good things. The score and soundtracks are beautiful, all of them either charming by themselves or fitting to the film's time and place. The overall acting feels natural and real, if you're part of an Italian family or have lived amongst them, you'll recognize the warm and homely vibes from their interactions. This feeling is also reinforced through the beautiful setting of the italian summer; the color palette and filters are all fitting too.
So, what is it lacking? The actual plot is dull. Some scenes shine through and might add some meaning, but half the film is just filling: characters going to places, staying at places, having daily life interactions with each other, with very little dialogue through it all. A lot of it could have been cut off and it wouldn't matter. But, most importantly, the relationship between the leads had no real chemistry between them; we do see Elio sneaking glances and touching Oliver's stuff, but when did Oliver even start being attracted to Elio? And what about the girls? Why do they keep making passes at them if they're not into it? The conversations are scarce and don't help clarify anything either- not until the very end, at least. I do realize a more poetic, intellectually romantic sort of public might find their relationship more appealing, though.
I'm pretty sure most of the really bad reviews (1 to 4 ratings) are because of the disappointment resulting from the high expectations its hype generated. Taking that aside, it's just a (seudo?)intellectual movie trying to display love and relationships in a natural setting, nothing much else happening. Nothing great, but nothing horrendous either.
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