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Call Me by Your Name (2017) - Plot Summary Poster

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Summaries

  • In 1980s Italy, a romance blossoms between a seventeen year-old student and the older man hired as his father's research assistant.

  • 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 doctorate, arrives as the annual summer intern tasked with helping Elio's father. Amid the sun-drenched splendor of the setting, Elio and Oliver discover the heady beauty of awakening desire over the course of a summer that will alter their lives forever.

  • In early-1980s northern Italy, amid the lush Mediterranean landscapes of a serene and golden summer, 17-year-old, Elio, visits the family's summer villa to spend his vacation with his father and Greco-Roman culture professor, Mr Perlman, his translator mother, Annella, and the American doctoral student who works there as an intern, Oliver. But, little by little, over the course of six fleeting weeks, a timid friendship between Elio and Oliver will prepare the ground for an unexpected bond, as the unexplored emotions of first love start boiling over. Could this sun-kissed romance in Lombardy be the prelude to maturity?


Spoilers

The synopsis below may give away important plot points.

Synopsis

  • In the summer of 1983, somewhere in northern Italy, seventeen-year-old Elio Perlman (Timothee Chalamet) is living with his parents (Michael Stuhlbarg and Amira Casar). His father, a professor of archaeology, has a graduate student come every summer to help with his research, and this year's student, Oliver (Armie Hammer) arrives to stay with the Perlmans. Elio gives up his room so Oliver can stay in there.

    With not much else to do, the two begin spending time together, with Elio showing Oliver around. The cerebral Elio finds gregarious Oliver to be arrogant - he doesn't like him very much. When everyone is out sunbathing and playing volleyball, Oliver lightly massages Elio's shoulder, and he recoils at the touch. But as Oliver continues prodding the moody Elio to hang out, they develop a back and forth banter. Elio writes to himself that he was too harsh to Oliver at first, he thought Oliver didn't like him.

    One night in town, Elio and his friend Marzia (Esther Garrel) see Oliver dancing and kissing a local girl, Chiara. The DJ plays "Love My Way," and Elio joins the dancing - afterward, he and Marzia go swimming in the night. The next day, he tells Oliver he almost had sex with her. Elio becomes increasingly interested in Oliver, tagging along on an excavation to spend time with him.

    Elio's mother reads a story about a knight who is unable to tell a princess he loves her. "Is it better to speak or to die?" asks the prince. On a trip into town, Elio, without saying it explicitly, lets Oliver know he has feelings for him. Oliver tells him to pretend he never said that. On the way home, Elio takes Oliver to a creek that he calls his place. After playing in the water, they lay out in the sun and share a kiss. Elio wants to keep going, but Oliver tells him they haven't done anything wrong yet and should leave it there.

    Elio begins wearing a Jewish star necklace just like Oliver's, but Oliver is seemingly nowhere to be found over the next few days, seemingly avoiding Elio. Elio begins spending more time with Marzia. She tells Elio she's worried he's going to hurt her. He assuages her, and the two finally have sex.

    Elio writes and throws out note after note to Oliver - he finally settles on "can't stand the silence, need to speak to you," and leaves it under Oliver's door. He gets a note back that says, "grow up. I'll see you at midnight". Elio has sex with Marzia again, and then that evening goes to see Oliver. The two finally sleep together. Oliver tells Elio, "Call me by your name, and I'll call you by mine." Elio calls Oliver Elio. Oliver calls Elio Oliver. The next day, Oliver goes into town, and Elio follows him. Oliver is happy they slept together, but doesn't want Elio to regret anything. He worries he might mess him up. Elio just wants to be with Oliver, he says.

    Later, Elio is eating a peach and uses it to masturbate with. He finishes in the peach and leaves it on the dresser. When Oliver finds him later, he realizes what happened and goes to playfully eat the peach when Elio bursts into tears. He doesn't want Oliver to go. They continue spending time together, getting closer and more and more intimate. Marzia comes by to look for Elio, wondering why he's disappeared on her. He can't provide any explanation, leaving her devastated.

    Oliver's last stop before leaving the country is three days working in Bergamo. Elio's parents think it might be nice for Elio to go with him, so Oliver says goodbye to the Perlmans and the two of them take a bus to Bergamo. Alone together, the two see the sights, go out in the evening, and get drunk. Oliver hears "Love My Way" playing from a car and runs towards it, dancing to the song. Finally, Oliver has to leave, and the two have a long hug goodbye. Elio watches Oliver get on the train and leave, and calls his mother to come pick him up from the station. He cries during the car ride home.

    Back in town, he encounters Marzia. She tells him she isn't mad at him, and the two agree to always be friends. Mr. Perlman notices how sad Elio is, and tells him that what he had with Oliver was a truly special friendship - more than a friendship. He tells Elio not to cut himself off from his feelings to not feel grief because then you lose the ability to feel the kind of joy he felt with Oliver. He tells him he came close, but never had the kind of connection that they had.

    The following winter, snow is everywhere. Chanukah candles are lit and latkes (traditional potato pancakes) are being prepared for the holiday dinner. Elio answers the ringing phone: it's Oliver calling. They tell each other they miss each other, then Oliver shares his news: he's engaged. The Perlmans jump on the line to say hello but then leave Elio and Oliver to speak. Elio tells Oliver they know about them, Oliver guessed as much. He says they always treated him like one of the family, as a son in law. They call each other by their names one more time, and Oliver tells Elio he remembers everything. Elio goes and sits in front of the fireplace, eyes welling up with tears as dinner is about to be served.

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