Set during one idyllic Italian summer in 1983, Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name follows the relationship that develops between 17-year-old Elio (Timothée Chalamet) and the older American academic Oliver (Armie Hammer), who has come to study at his parent’s villa. An intimate portrayal of a young boy’s sexual awakening set against a gorgeous Italian backdrop, this tale’s onscreen portrayal of the relationship between two men doesn’t linger on the fact that they are a same-sex couple. It goes beyond the typical swoony story we’ve seen before, offering instead a compelling portrait of the passionate love that quickly develops between the pair.
Having garnered rave reviews since its premiere at Sundance in January, Call Me By Your Name is well on its way to being one of the most acclaimed films of the year, and a serious 2018 Oscar contender. The film’s 2 hours and 12 minutes may sound like a long haul, but they fly by. Thai cinematographer Sayombhu Mukdeeprom’s gorgeous, textured rendering of the pastoral Italian landscape pulls you in from the outset, leaving you feeling like another guest at the villa as the story unfolds.
“Chalamet oozes boyish charm as Elio”
The film’s landscape is second only to the astonishing Timothée Chalamet’s star-making performance, coupled with an effortlessly charismatic turn by Armie Hammer. Chalamet oozes boyish charm as Elio, a simple lingering look conveying the teenager’s unspoken emotional turmoil. A scene that plays throughout the credits is worth staying in the theatre, a static close up on Chalamet that cements his status as one of the most talented young actors of recent years – you’ll be hearing a lot more from him.
Hammer’s performance as the confident Oliver makes for the perfect tonic to Chalamet’s intensity, and what truly makes the film fly is the effortless chemistry between the two. The lingering silences they share are charged with depth and unspoken intensity. Michael Stuhlbarg and Amira Casar also shine as Elio’s scholarly, all-knowing parents. Stuhlbarg’s stunning delivering of a speech towards the end of the film that almost steals the show.
“Guadagnino’s manages to create this stunning tale without a stereotype in sight”.
From the LGBT+ perspective, Guadagnino’s manages to create this stunning tale without a stereotype in sight. While both men spend the Summer half-dressed and basking in the sunshine, neither conform to any romanticised gay-pastiche. Instead, Guadagnino’s film offers two fully-formed characters with a profound emotional depth, deftly crafting a modern love that lingers in the imagination.
Call Me By Your Name is in cinemas now
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