Northern Italy. Summer. 1983. André Aciman. Luca Guadanino.
With a soundtrack written by Sufjan Stevens and beautiful shots of the Italian Countryside, “Call Me By Your Name” tells a love story that leaves you crying in the theatre, still crying on your way home and thinking about it for days to come.
Premiering at the Sundance Film Festival in 2017, “Call Me By Your Name” is finally making its way to theaters across the world. Directed by Luca Guadanino, adapted from the beautiful story written by André Aciman, the film is set during a summer in Italy as a teenager, Elio (Timothée Chamalet) explore his feelings with a graduate student, Oliver (Armie Hammer). Oliver is an American graduate student whose professor, Elio’s father, has invited to stay at their house and work with him. In the six weeks that follow, a romance develops between Elio and Oliver and a beautiful love story begins to unfurl.
This story is just a love story. “Call Me By Your Name” tells a romance just as heartbreaking as “The Titanic,” as beautiful as “The Notebook” and with cinematography as striking as “La La Land.” This film, for sure, will soon be added to the list of the classic romances that leave you wanting to laugh and cry all at once.
When you Google “Call Me By Your Name” and scroll down, Google offers three suggestions for other movies that you might enjoy, the majority of which belongs to the love and romance genre. While “Call Me By Your Name” is, in many ways, a classic romance, at the same time it is so much more than that.
This film is about their love, but instead it shows the struggles of romance. Aciman writes about sexuality so explicitly that he is no longer writing about sexuality, and as a result, not once does this film outright mention it.
Elio is your typical confused teenager. He stumbles through his first strong feeling of love with absolutely no grace, reaching the hearts of everyone in the theater, giving everyone something to relate to. In the scene with a peach, Elio’s character pulls at everyone’s heartstrings, perfectly capturing the awkward feelings of the teenage years.
Elio is completely overcome by Oliver in every sense of the word, but not once does he have a quintessential “coming out” moment to anyone, or does he doubt his feelings, which makes “Call Me By Your Name” remarkable. Unlike most movies exploring the topic sexual orientation, the film gives every audience something to relate to, from the questioning children to the settled adults.
It is refreshing to see a classic film that represents the gay community with a raw, natural romance. This is why “Call Me By Your Name” has everything to do with sexuality and explores love to its deepest and rawest emotions.
Although the film contains straight as well as gay sex, at no point does anyone question or label Elio’s sexuality simply because it is unnecessary. In the opening shots of the movie, the setting is described as “Somewhere in Northern Italy,” a location as vague and mysterious as many other aspects of this movie for one reason.
These details are not necessary because Elio and Oliver’s love story speaks for itself. The movie is not focused on the details but is instead focused purely on telling their story. This is not the only time Aciman has written about sexuality in this way. In his new novel, “Enigma Variations,” the author uses similar writing techniques, never directly mentioning sexuality but instead letting the story shines on its own.
Apart from Elio and Oliver, this film would not be complete without Elio’s parents, played by Michael Stuhlbarg and Amira Casar. Elio’s parents are a perfect example of what every child wants, but only few are lucky enough to have.
Not only does Stuhlbarg deliver an incredibly moving speech at the end of the film, but throughout the whole film he also offers anecdotes and comments that only a father could give. In the middle of the film, Casar discretely offers her own wisdom to Elio, although he can’t tell that she realizes what he is going through. And just as only parents can do, they know exactly what Elio is hiding without him saying a word.
Despite the time period, there was not one moment in which Elio did not have his parent’s full support. Throughout the entire film, Elio and his parents retained a close bond, displaying the type of family that makes you want to call your parents and thank them for everything just one more time. The supportive, picture-perfect parents were just another way to focus directly on the love at hand as the author gave nothing to detract from the romance that Elio was pondering.
There is a reason that this film currently has four Grammy nominations. From the cinematography to the dialogue, it is difficult to find a way to describe this film other than “beautiful.”
With Guadanino’s intuition and experience as a director, he was able to portray exactly what Aciman originally wrote: a story of love. Aciman writes about everything and nothing all at once, boiling his stories down to the feelings of his characters.
This film is adding to the movie industry the much-needed representation of homosexuality, and doing it in a heart-wrenching way. The passion and pain this story caters will pull at your heartstrings in a way that only the memories of a first love can.
“Call Me By Your Name” follows a beautiful story of two characters exploring their love and feelings for each other, and that is that. So, to those who have seen the film, later.