Call Me By Your Name | Film Review

Monday, 19 February 2018

Based on the 2007 novel of the same name by Andre Aciman, Call Me By Your Name is a fantastic coming-of-age drama adaptation. From the cinematography to the soundtrack, everything just felt right. Even better, it's set in the 80's. The film is directed by Luca Guadagnino and is an adaptation of 2007 novel of the same by, written by Andre Aciman.

*Spoilers ahead*
In the film, Elio lives in the Italian countryside with his mother and father. He spends the majority of the summer holidays reading, swimming and spending time with his girlfriend, Marzia. The family household is very cultured, Elio is a musical prodigy and each family member is bilingual. Every year, his father (an archaeology professor) invites a student to spend the summer at their villa, in order to help him with his research, as well as spend with his family. Elio detests this, as he has to give up his room every year for a new student. This year, Oliver is selected by his father to help him with his research. However, Elio and Oliver initially seem to have nothing in common, as Elio is more introverted whereas Oliver is charismatic.

As the two spend more time together, their feelings for one another begin to grow. They share frequent glances and intimate moments which soon turns into a romantic relationship between the two. They become more intimate both physically and emotionally. As Oliver's trip starts to come to an end, Elio's mother suggests that they take a trip together. After Oliver's inevitable departure, Elio returns home heartbroken. However, he is comforted by both his mother and father.

During Hanukkah, Elio receives a phone call from Oliver telling him that he is engaged to be married. Heartbroken, Elio sits by the fireplace, as the camera slowly documents his emotions.

I loved this film as it was the perfect amount of drama (if you know what I mean). It is proof that a drama doesn't have to be tear-jerking, and use a manipulative soundtrack in order to make you do so. Instead, I cried because I felt connected to the characters. Despite the story being quite a simple premise, it still keeps you watching due to the sheer connection it manages to create between the two main characters. The chemistry between Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer was so incredible that you could truly feel the romance blooming between both Elio and Oliver. I didn't doubt their romance for one second, something that is hard for me to accomplish.

Guadagnino successfully captures the feeling of long, hot summer days filled with that sleepy feeling. The film itself feels poetic and lyrical, which is only helped by the soundtrack. The integration of 80's pop songs, such as 'Love My Way', 'Lady Lady Lady' and 'Words' really helps to add a comedic tone to the film. An example of this is the scene when Elio and his friends, as well as Oliver, go to a party and start dancing. Oliver's awkward dancing provides a sense of comedy in the film.

Refreshingly, sexual pleasure is presented as fluid within the film. Elio finds sexual pleasure with both Marzia and Oliver, yet he never feels tied down to one or the other. It is fantastic to see that Elio doesn't feel constrained by his sexual identity. Instead, he revels in the unknown and his sexual relations during the summer are liberating for him.

My favourite part of the film was by far the closing scene, in which Elio discovers that Oliver is engaged to be married. After receiving this news, Elio sits in front the fire and the camera simply focuses on him in the exact same spot during the closing credits. This is an extremely simple shot but it is extremely successful at conveying Elio's performance to the audience. Throughout the few minutes that the camera stays focused on Elio, the audience sees multiple emotions cross over his face. Firstly, and understandably, he sits crying in pain. However, as the scene comes to an end he begins to smile, realising that although their time together was short, it was unforgettable.

My only critique of the film is the fact that the age difference between the characters is never addressed. Although Elio is seventeen, he still is not yet an adult, making the affair between him and Oliver rather questionable.

It is no wonder that this film is being nominated for so many awards and is so well acclaimed, as it is truly one of the best films I have seen in a long time. I can't wait to see how it does at the Oscars, as it deserves multiple awards. I have just started reading the book and I am enjoying it so far. I truly hope it is as beautiful as the film!

Have you seen Call Me By Your Name? If so, what were your thoughts on the film?

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