Thursday, January 4, 2018

A Glass Of Wine At The Movies - Call Me By Your Name

Call Me By Your Name

Rating: 14A

Director: Luca Guadagnino

Language: English

Length: 132 minutes

Cast: Timothée Chalamet, Armie Hammer, Michael Stuhlbarg

Viewing Method: Regular Theatre Screening

Synopsis: In the summer of 1983, in the north of Italy, Elio Perlman, (Timothée Chalamet) a 17-year-old American spends his days in his family's 17th century villa lazily transcribing music and flirting with his friend Marzia (Esther Garrel). One day Oliver (Armie Hammer), a 24-year-old graduate student working on his doctorate arrives as the annual summer intern tasked with helping Elio's father (Michael Stuhlbarg), an eminent professor specializing in Greco-Roman culture. Soon, Elio and Oliver discover a summer that will alter their lives forever. CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, directed by Luca Guadagnino and written by James Ivory, is based on the novel by André Aciman.

**purchased ticket to review on my own**

Call Me By Your Name is a lot of things. It's a summer romance. It's a coming of age story. It's a story of the whirlwind of firsts that you experience. It's a story that is richly crafted and brought to life by director Luca Guadagnino.

The movie itself is stunning to look at. The setting so lovingly shot that you feel as if you're spending the summer in Italy with Elio and Oliver. The colours used are so vibrant and lush. The attention to detail makes even the littlest element hold significance. It's a truly beautiful film to watch and one you could easily lose yourself in over and over again.

The most incredible part of this movie is, perhaps, the complete lack of the punishment trope that is often found in art and media that feature LGBTQ+ characters. The 'bury your gays' trope that is always so prevalent. The message that LGBTQ+ desire, once acted upon, is something that demands a swift punishment. This 'punishment' can take many forms with the most often one being the death of one of the characters. This 'consequence' is nowhere to be found within this movie. It is simply a love story. It was a refreshing change and hopefully a step forward in the types of stories that are told for the LGBTQ+ community.

This is a quieter movie. The dialogue that is being spoken really tells only part of the story. Much of this movie is expressed through facial expressions and silent communication. Timothée Chalamet, in particular, is capable of expressing complex emotions using only his eyes and facial expressions, many of which are subtle. There is also a physicality to the role that Chalamet captures perfectly. The excitement and exuberance of his youth is in every leap and bound his character makes. It is in the awkward, but breathless, way Elio climbs all over Oliver. All of these elements together make for an incredibly compelling performance that showcases just what a talent Chalamet is.

Armie Hammer has, in my opinion, one of the harder acting roles to pull off. He plays this cool, self assured 'golden boy' and makes it look effortless. His effortlessly delivered "Later" as he leaves the room. The ease in which he carries himself. There isn't a false note in his portrayal of Oliver. The fleshing out of the character as the movie goes on adds layers, but that initial Elio tainted view is something that stayed with me, even as I saw the character's vulnerability.

If I had to pick a theme for this movie I would immediately say longing. The longing to communicate and the desperation that is felt when that connection doesn't seem to be happening. A longing for a person so fiercely that you ache. This is a movie that makes you ache with these characters. You can feel their longing. You want them to be together as much as they want to be together.

The closing moments of Call Me By Your Name are perfection. They are some of the best cinematic moments I can recall experiencing. Chalamet shines the brightest in these moments (I urge you to stay seated as the credits run). He and Armie Hammer both unravel you with nothing more than an utterance of a name, and Chalamet makes you feel every emotional beat using nothing more than the expressions that pass over his face. It's dizzying, breathtaking and demands to be rewatched for it's simplistic beauty.

This review, of course, would not be complete without a mention of the age difference between Elio and Oliver. Elio is seventeen. Oliver is twetny four. The movie (and the book from what I understand) takes great care to show that Elio is mature for his age. He is Oliver's intellectual equal. His agency is never in question. Elio is making choices on his own. The fact that Elio is still a minor is not directly dealt with in the narrative of the story but it is felt throughout. It's one of the (many) reasons Oliver is hesitant to get involved with Elio. It is part of what makes their relationship messy. The feelings you may have about this element of the story are part of what makes this story what it is. It's a deliberate choice and one that I think works in this particular case.

Call Me By Your Name is a story of longing, lust, loss and the bittersweet ache of experiencing them for the first time. It's a powerful love story filled with some stunningly brilliant performances from its highly talented cast. It deserve all of the praise it has been getting and I cannot wait to watch it again and fall in love with not only Italy but, Elio and Oliver's love story all over again.

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