Based on the novel by André Aciman, Call Me By Your Name takes us back to Northern Italy in the bright, shimmering summer of 1983. Mr. Perlman (Michael Stuhlbarg) and his wife Annella (Amira Casar) have hired a research assistant to come in and work with them over the course of a six-week period, and this assistant comes in the form of the charming Oliver (Armie Hammer). Elio (Timothée Chalamet), Perlman’s son, serves as our eyes and ears. He’s a young book-obsessed seventeen-year-old secretly exploring his sexuality, whether he knows that or not, and slowly falling for Oliver from afar.
Appreciating a movie and enjoying one are two distinctly different things, but Call Me By Your Name blends the two seamlessly. There’s beauty not just in the way this film is made, but the way it tells its story. The film features very little conflict, yet it works as a poignant narrative of being who you want to be while you’re young, unashamed and fulfilled, not letting life go to waste subduing who you are. A scene towards the finale hits the messages home the deepest, and features a truly heartbreaking performance by the always-impressive (and ever present in all your favourite films) Michael Stuhlbarg.
Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet fill every frame they share with strong personality and fantastic chemistry. They own this movie. It’s their film through and through. Their personal narratives may move at a slow pace, but every scene shared grasps your attention in ways never done before. Like I said, it never goes straight into the romance and that’s a very effective move, for this isn’t a film necessarily just about the love, but also about what this love means for the people involved. For them, being gay at this point in their lives, it could have a lot of consequences, but restraint can only take them so far, and what unfolds can only be described as magical.
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