2017 | 2 hours 12 minutes | Dir. Luca Guadagnino | Sony Pictures Classics
The skinny ingenue. The Sufjan Stevens songs. The vintage threads. The scribble typography. A 90- year- old dude may have written this movie, but hipsters should love it.
Call Me By Your Name screenwriter and producer James Ivory spent 44 years as half of Merchant & Ivory, the team that brought us period dramas like Room with a View and Howard’s End. Ismail Merchant died in 2005; James Ivory carries on their literary film tradition in Call Me By Your Name, an adaption of André Aciman’s novel about an American teenager’s sexual awakening.
Elio (Timotèe Chamalet) spends summers and Christmases at his family’s Northern Italian villa. Each summer, his father, an archeology professor, hosts an intern. This year, he hires strapping frat boy Oliver (Armie Hammer). Eliot explores his sexuality with girls, boys, and peaches.
The film discusses hiding one’s identity. Oliver hides his homosexuality because of societal pressures- “my dad would have put me in a correctional facility,” he tells Elio over the phone in the movie’s sad final scene. Elio’s dad, who spends all day looking at Hellenistic nudes, confesses his own homosexuality to his son in a particularly awkward talk. Elio tells Oliver, who wears a Star of David, that his mother considers them “Jews in discretion”. And Marzia, the French girl Elio pursues, confesses she doesn’t tell people she likes to read. We all have something to hide, and cherish relationships where we can be our true selves.
Someone described this movie to me as “predatory”. The title implies an unbalanced relationship, but it’s missing half the line: “Call my by your name and I’ll call you by mine”. At first, I thought the older American preyed on the younger boy, but if anything, it’s the other way around. Elio is one horny dude. A man- on- man relationship features prominently, but the film has an air of romance we can all relate to. We fall in love with Oliver as Elio does. I wish studios made more tender summer romances, gay or otherwise.
Call Me By Your contains no graphic sex or nudity (read: no dicks); this is not the 2018 Blue is the Warmest Color. That said, if you don’t want to see the skinny guy climb the blonde guy like a tree, watch something else.
The 2- hour 12 minute movie features gorgeous Italian countrysides and a soundtrack that blends classical standards with 3 Sufjan Stevens originals and “Love My Way” by The Psychedelic Furs. The characters wear lots of breezy button- downs and Sad Girl Shorts. Frat Oliver is a style icon. Timothèe Chamalet (French name, American actor) is quickly becoming this generation’s Paul Dano. Call My By Your Name is a fun romp in the wild that will warm up your winter. I did not think the ending was sad. This kid has the most supportive parents in the universe. Plus, there’s a sequel.