Jan-22-2018

Reel Snippet – Call Me By Your Name

Summary: In the summer of 1983 in the Italian countryside, 17-year-old Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet) has plans to stay inside and read as per usual. These plans change when an American named Oliver (Arnie Hammer) comes to stay at his house to help his father, Mr. Perlman (Michael Stuhlbarg) with his academic work. Elio is irritated by Oliver’s behavior, which he finds boorish and uncouth, but the longer Oliver stays, the closer the two get and a romance begins to form. But growing up in different cultures with different beliefs on gay love makes the whole affair complicated as the two try to figure things out while Elio navigates his own budding adolescence.

Review: Call Me By Your Name feels like it was made for film majors. What I mean is that there are a lot of references to philosophy and foreign culture that I’m positive connects to the movie’s plot at multiple levels. It’s one of those films that I can see being taught in film school with the students being asked to write papers deconstructing and finding the relevance in certain scenes and what they mean for the film as a whole. I say this to help you understand why I, having no knowledge of the philosophy or cultural intricacies of Italy, found this movie to be good, but ultimately felt left out in the cold.

Here’s one of the big problems of the film: it feels really, really, really long. There are swathes of sections where it felt like little of substance was actually happening and several points that I thought, “Wait, we’re still going?” On top of that, I didn’t quite get why Elio was so standoffish to people. I get that he’s a bit introverted, but there were a few points where I felt he was a jerk for no reason, though it could stem from confusion over discovering his sexuality. Again, I feel like this ties into the philosophy and cultural differences that I’m not privy to, so I could very well have been missing half of the movie’s points.

That said, the romance is legitimately gripping. The scene that ties into the title was so beautiful I was almost moved to tears and their entire relationship makes the whole experience worth it. I also have to give the movie credit for not killing off one of the lovers as the death of gay characters for drama has become overused and problematic as of late. That said, the ending is quite tragic and it’s the only time I’ve been invested throughout the ending credits.

Overall, my experience with this movie was positive, but it also left me wanting in a big way. I didn’t feel that it gave me an insight into being young and in love like Three Billboards did for grief or Lady Bird did for rebellious adolescence. Still, I can’t deny that when it gets powerful, it really hits home. So yes, despite my back and forth opinions, I recommend Call Me By Your Name as something that will definitely get you thinking and feeling.

Fun Tidbit: Arnie Hammer, aside from playing one of the lead characters, narrated the audiobook for the original novel.


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