I had heard nothing but positive buzz revolving around this film about a love story in the middle of Northern Italy in the summer of 1983. Every critic I came across had nothing but acclaim for this story from a director I had never heard of and a writer whose work I’d seen little of. There is nothing I enjoy more than going into a film blind, having no idea where the story was going to take me and then that film surprising me with its overall presentation and delivery.
That is exactly what Call Me By Your Name did for me.
Call Me By Your Name tells the story of an American graduate student by the name of Oliver (Armie Hammer) staying with a family living in Italy for the summer as a research assistant for the father. The family’s seventeen-year-old son Elio (Timothée Chalamet, who also starred in another of this year’s Best Picture nominees, Lady Bird) allows Oliver to use his room and becomes somewhat of a minor tour guide for him when he is not working with Elio’s father. As time passes and as Elio tries to discover who he is, he and Oliver build a friendship that evolves into a passion-filled love for one another.
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The key focus of this film is the relationship that builds between our two main characters, Elio and Oliver. Chalamet and Hammer command every scene they are in together. Starting off as two guys who are cordial to each other, these two make the transition from strangers to playful friends to two people in love beautifully. The discipline and devotion these two actors put forth in fairly and honestly portraying these two characters are stunning to see. One can feel the love these characters have for each other, in both happiness and sadness. Chalamet’s performance, especially in the very last scene at the most heart-wrenching moment in his character’s story, is one to be talked about in great performances. At twenty-two years of age, Chalamet has made it known that he is bound to be one of the next greats.
Luca Guadagnino exquisitely brings James Ivory’s script to life through his lens. From the beautiful scenery that Italy has to offer to the vintage structures these scenes take place in, Guadagnino’s eye gives us the appropriate feel within every angle of a scene. Long takes with a single shot on a character or characters makes the audience focus in on the very emotion these actors are conveying, especially with such a talented cast as this one. Being my first time viewing his work, I can say I would gladly watch all of Luca Guadagnino’s works thanks to his vision in this film.
Call Me By Your Name is nominated for four Academy Awards: Best Song (“Mystery Of Love” by Sufjan Stevens), Best Adapted Screenplay (James Ivory) Best Actor (Timothée Chalamet) and Best Picture. This film is a tale of a surprising love. A love between two unsuspecting characters who grow toward each other. A young man discovering who he is and what he wants, and how what he wants may not be what he can have. For those who are open to all forms of filmmaking and storytelling, I strongly recommend this film.