Set along the beautiful and elegant Italian landscape, Elio, played by Timothée Chalamet, lives a life of comfort and has little to worry about. At age seventeen, with parents who love him and a mind of intellect, Elio is noticeably different than others his age. Each summer, his family enjoys leisure, study and the company of guests. The summer of 1983, in particular, is when things change for Elio.
Oliver, played by the affable and charming Armie Hammer, has arrived in Italy to spend several weeks to help Elio’s father, played by Michael Stuhlbarg, in his work, learn Italian, and do work of his own. Oliver exhibits the carefree attitude of many Americans, and it is quickly noticed by those he comes to meet. At the age of twenty-four, while an adult, he can be forgiven and admired for this. Elio is quick to notice Oliver and tries to understand him further.
Elio’s curiosity leads to desire, which leads to young love. It also leads him to periods of confusion and doubt in himself, his environment, Oliver, and much more.
In every way, Call Me By Your Name is a masterpiece. It tugs at your emotions, the scenes cannot be forgotten and no expense is spared in ensuring the viewer feels like they, too, are there in Italy. Critics and publications have all agreed to the significance and beauty of this film. The film’s premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 22nd, 2017 started the buzz and has gained more attention as we dive into awards season and the film’s wider release nationwide.
Interestingly, the film’s release comes in the middle of Hollywood scandals involving actors and producers caught up in sexual harassment, abuse and, even, rape claims. Some of these cases involving minors. There has been some criticism of the film because of Elio and Olver’s age difference, mainly on Twitter, and false equivalencies have been made. However, it has had nearly no impact on the film’s reception. For this, we can be thankful, because the story and ideals of Call Me By Your Name bear no similarity or likeness to what has been in the news this year. The critical acclaim of this film is well-deserved and cannot be overstated.
Luca Guadagnino, the director, does a superb job in leading the creation of this film, guiding the actors and capturing the beauty of this story. He has mentioned interest in doing sequels. Chalamet and Hammer have said they would return to these roles if Guadagnino asked them to.
I have no reservations in recommending this film, especially if you take your film viewing seriously. It would not be surprising if, in some way, this work goes down in cinematic history. The film is rated R, as it deals with adult themes.
To find screenings near you, you can refer to the film’s page at Sony Classics
This review was crossposted with The Moderate Voice