“Call Me by Your Name” is directed by Luca Guadagnino and it’s based off of a novel that’s about a 17 year old boy loving in Italy. This boy is named Elio and the movie follows him as he begins to develop feelings of attraction towards his father’s American teaching assistant named Oliver, played by Armie Hammer.
I’ve never read the novel that this movie is based off, but I did want to see this movie because of the rave reviews and the awards buzz it’s been receiving. And right now, this is the last 2017 film that I plan on seeing before I make my lists for the 10 best and worst movies of the year. I wanted to see this movie so as to fully feel like I’ve seen everything that I need to see before making my lists and now that I’ve seen it, I can say that I’m very glad that I held off.
Elio is played by Timothee Chalamet and this is an incredibly emotional performance on his part. I’ve seen him in other small roles such as “Interstellar” and even earlier this year in “Lady Bird” and this is by far his best performance in his young career. He does a good job in simply playing a young boy who’s at a very confusing time in his life and you feel the confusion, but also the excitement that he expresses at certain points. What really drives home the performance, though, is the raw emotion that he conveys. This movie has some heartbreaking moments and Chalamet really sells home the sadness of whatever situation is happening. It’s a performance that’s full of a range of emotions and Chalamet is perfect in the role.
Surprisingly enough, I was really impressed by Armie Hammer’s performance. I’ve personally never been a fan of Hammer seeing as how he’s come off as very bland and un-charismatic in most of his roles, but that’s the exact opposite situation in this movie. His character of Oliver is very charming, carefree in his demeanor, and most importantly, just plain likable. This is actually a very subtle performance on Hammer’s part and I also think he does career best work in this film.
When it all comes down to things, this movie is a coming-of-age tale for Elio and with that comes all the things you’d expect. The primary focus is on his first love and his conflicted feelings towards Oliver, but you also have things like parental relationships and a Summer fling with another girl, one that heavily plays into his feelings towards Oliver. The best part is that none of it feels cliched or like we’ve seen it before. It all feels very realistic and not to “Hollywood-ized”. Going back to Chalamet’s other film this year, “Lady Bird”, my big flaw with that movie was that it didn’t subvert genre cliches like I was expecting and I found it to be very predictable, it feeling like any other coming-of-age movie that I’ve seen before. That’s not the case with “Call Me by your Name”. It’s a very real experience that plays out in a very grounded and realistic manner.
I also loved how Guadagnino directs this movie. A big part of his direction is in how he shoots the location of this small Italian town in 1983. He puts you in the location and you feel everything that these characters are feeling in this relaxed, lazy Summer. You get a taste of the characters, their surroundings, and even some of the Italian culture that’s put on display. It’s a very well shot film where the director clearly has his own personal vision of this one story set in this particular Summer and it’s a very well realized vision at that.
My only gripe with this movie is in its length. This movie is roughly two hours and ten minutes and there were times when I could feel the length, specifically in the end of the film. I feel like this movie has a few moments when it looked like it was about to end, but it didn’t and it kept going. I understand the story and themes being conveyed, but that doesn’t change the fact that I think that this movie’s ending could’ve been shaved off by about ten minutes.
In the end, “Call Me by Your Name” was an incredibly touching movie that I connected to. It’s heartbreaking when it wants to be, but it also comes with a sense of joy mixed with realism that would come in such a confusing part in Elio and Oliver’s lives. I feel that this movie did its job in showing everything that would happen with these two characters, making for an emotionally resonant film that’s powerfully acted and very well directed.
Rating: Full Price!