Movie Review: Call Me By Your Name

[Call Me By Your Name has been nominated in 4 categories at the Academy Awards 2018: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Song.]

Call Me By Your Name, the movie, is based on a 2007 book of the same name by Andre Aciman. The movie is set in 1983 in a remote Italian village and explores the sexuality of a 17-year-old Elio Perlman (Timothee Chalamet). Elio is an introvert, an intense bibliophile and musician. His parents are played by Michael Stuhlbarg (who was also in The Post and The Shape of Water) and Amira Casar, both very supportive and loving of their son.

Mr. Perlman is an archaeologist who, every summer, invites students to intern with him. The summer of 1983 sees doctoral student Oliver (Armie Hammer) coming to work under Mr. Perlman. Though Elio has a girlfriend Marzia (Esther Garrel) and becomes quite intimate with her, he finds himself becoming more and more attracted to Oliver. What follows is a story that is so beautiful and heartbreaking, even with its slow pace.

A coming-of-age drama, Call Me By Your Name has Timothee Chalamet give a performance every bit worthy of the Oscar nod he’s got. He has almost everything perfected – right from the joy to the sorrow to the confusion to the heartbreak, the gamut of emotions crossing his good-looking face is astoundingly varied.

And what a character 17-year-old Elio is! At that age, everyone struggles with adolescence, everyone has their own battles to fight – either with their peers or with themselves. Elio has to fight his own understanding to understand himself. And in doing this, he finds the world a much better place to indulge himself in. Such a well-written character is Elio!

Every other actor in the film does their assigned job to the point of what is expected of them. Be it Armie Hammer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar, or Esther Garrel. But it is Chalamet who outdoes them all. And that is how you see the results.

Luca Guadagnino does an amazing job as the director of the film, bringing in quirks where it is least expected. A socially relevant film in today’s time, it is thanks to Guadagnino that it took off. Otherwise, the adapted script would have been languishing without a director.

Another star of the movie is the village where it was filmed. To the best of my “research”, this was Crema in Italy. The architecture, the quaint little cafes, and the beauty of nature amidst which this story takes place gave me wanderlust as well as a weird homesickness that I cannot quite explain. There is so much to see in the world and so little time. Most importantly money. I wish I could sit in that café by which Elio and Oliver talk. I wish I could sit there, reading a book and sipping on a coffee that I wouldn’t find anywhere else. I wish…

But I digress.

Call Me By Your Name, the movie, in itself is slow-paced. At least the first 40 minutes are. I checked my watch a number of times to see how long it was before the movie would end. Though this prevailed for a majority of the film, the last half an hour more than made up for it. The range of emotions that went through me as I saw those on Chalamet’s face was incredible. But then again, it’s a very one-time kind of movie. I wouldn’t consciously watch it again but I’d definitely recommend it with a few well-intended words.

Call Me By Your Name comes at a time when we need its message the most. While LGBTQ rights have only been moving forward now, there’s a lot of ground to cover yet. And this movie, despite showing how a 17-year-old deals with his sexual awakening, is as relevant as for adults as it is for adolescents. Everyone MUST watch this film, if you are a forward-thinking human being or if you want to become one.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Picture Courtesy: Twitter.

[Timothee Chalamet was also in Lady Bird.]

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