Kjproulx via rotten tomattoes
“Not to single out this particular premise, but films revolving around gay couples have been terrific over the last decade or so. There was a spark when 2005’s Brokeback Mountain was released, which eventually brought us to foreign films like Blue Is the Warmest Colour being nominated for a Golden Globe or Moonlight winning best picture at the Oscars. Call Me by Your Name is the latest film to probably receive many nominations in the coming months, and believe me, the praise is not false. Being a fan of 2015’s A Bigger Splash, I was looking forward to Luca Guadagnino’s follow-up feature film, and I believe this to be an improvement in the best ways. Exploring the hardships of life and what it means to just kick back and relax every now and then, Call Me by Your Name is a film that’s been sticking with me since my viewing of it. While it admittedly won’t be able to draw in everyone to the theatres, here is why I believe this to be a fantastic, award-worthy picture.
Written by James Ivory and directed by Luca Guadagnino, Call Me by Your Name follows a family that lets Oliver, an older graduate student, live in their home for the summer. While this is a common thing, what’s not too common is that Elio, their son, will eventually grow romantic feelings toward this man, convincing him to become his lover for the summer. From the age gap between them and having to hide it from the family, their situation isn’t an easy one, nor will it be for some audience members, but it really is a wonderful story. This is easily a story that could’ve stirred up controversy if it hadn’t been done with taste, and because of how it was made, I just couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. This was made entirely possible by the incredibly devoted performances by Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer.
Hammer has had his ups and downs through the years, appearing in Oscar-winning films as well as some of the worst films of the year, so his performance here was the most shocking to me. Yes, he’s been talent in nearly everything he’s been in, but he really gave his all in this performance and I honestly don’t think he’ll ever be better than he was in Call Me by Your Name. On the other hand, young Chalamet has a very bright future ahead of him. Being a relatively new actor, his chemistry with Hammer was impeccably astounding. Their relationship took a while to grow on me, but once it completely won me over, I found myself wondering if there was anything to really complain about.
If I had to complain about anything, it would be in its extreme pressure to try your patience. There are very long sequences of silence, making you relax and take in either a romantic moment or the scenery around them, which I also found poetic at the same time, so I actually have trouble coming up with issues, but I have to admit that I did find the movie slow at times. Yes, it’s meant to be slow, which is why that complaint isn’t exactly valid, but I just have to be honest.
In the end, this is a truly remarkable piece of dramatic filmmaking and there are some very memorable scenes that keep replaying themselves in my head. One scene in particular that involves Elio and his father Mr. Perlman (played magnificently by Michael Stuhlbarg) toward the end had me in tears. From the brilliantly written screenplay, to the poetic cinematography, to the terrifically calm direction, Call Me by Your Name isn’t a movie that I would send the average moviegoer out to see, but if you’re a hardcore film fan, I think you’ll end up loving this movie.”