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[Review] – “Call Me by Your Name”

 
 
Overview
 

Release Date: 24 November 2017 [USA]
 
Director: Luca Guadagnino
 
Writer: James Ivory [Screenplay] - Andre Aciman - [Novel]
 
Cast: Armie Hammer - Timothée Chalamet - Michael Stuhlbarg
 
Direction
 
 
 
 
 


 
Writing
 
 
 
 
 


 
Performance
 
 
 
 
 


 
Sound & Music
 
 
 
 
 


 
Cinematography
 
 
 
 
 


 
Editing
 
 
 
 
 


 
Visual Effects
 
 
 
 
 


 
Total Score
 
 
 
 
 
5/5


User Rating
1 total rating

 


1
Posted November 12, 2017 by

 
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Review:

Somewhere in Northern Italy, summer, 1983. 17-year-old Elio and 24-year-old Oliver spend time together at Elio’s family villa. Over the course of 6 weeks, the two grow and change within their intellectual and romantic capacities.

Somewhere in Northern England, autumn, 2017. I sit down in the cinema and prepare to be emotionally ruined by Luca Guadagnino’s adaptation of what I believe to be a literary masterpiece.

Director Luca Guadagnino, famed for his inconsistency in the quality of his films, takes the helm in adapting André Aciman’s LGBT romance novel. Call Me by Your Name is his masterpiece. Like the book, Guadagnino creates a beautifully intimate and intense scenario for the screen. Using close angles and muted colours, the film appears as almost a home movie, allowing the audience to feel like they know each of the characters personally and have experienced what they have. This makes for a gorgeous, though slowly paced film. The slow burn that Call Me by Your Name possesses is ideal for the content of the film. The slow development of each aspect makes for an excruciatingly accurate portrayal of sexual awakening and self-discovery. Not only is this film a painful, heart-wrenching yet essential watch for all people in the LGBT community, it is also relevant to anyone who has ever been in love, anyone who has ever craved love or lost love or watched love from the side-lines.

The highlight of this entire film was, for me, Timothée Chalamet. He encapsulates every vulnerability of the young Elio as he embarks on his journey towards understanding himself and his, often confusing and conflicting, feelings. The online fan community for Call Me by Your Name has been campaigning for Chalamet’s Academy Award since the first trailer dropped! Without a doubt, they are right to do so. The young, and so far inexperienced, actor takes on the hugely demanding role of Elio Perlman – an innocent and often confused young man who is overcome with desire and devotion. Timothée Chalamet becomes Elio and, in doing so, admires, loves and fears everything that Elio does, resulting in a masterpiece of a performance. Chalamet grabs the audience by both hands and pulls them into Elio’s character, allowing one of the greatest and strongest audience-character connections in the history of cinema to take form.

Whilst Timothée Chalamet’s is the strongest of the film and one of the strongest of the year, the entire cast of Call Me by Your Name presents their characters almost perfectly. Adapting each description from the book, every actor takes on the excessive weight of Aciman’s complex and intriguing characters whilst also adding in their own traits. Armie Hammer is as relaxed and cool as the character of Oliver himself as he breezes across the screen. He is painfully casual at a glance but beneath this façade, Hammer is exploiting Oliver’s own conflict and turmoil in the best way possible. Somehow, Armie Hammer manages to play one version of Oliver who is, in turn, playing yet another version of himself. Managing to do that, and in such a subtle way, shows that Hammer is one of the most underrated actors working today. The most beautiful scene in the film and the book, for me, is Mr Perlman’s speech towards the end. Michael Stuhlbarg’s delivery of this exquisite monologue is inspirational and heart-breaking. Another subtle yet powerful performance comes from Stuhlbarg who comes across as the perfect father. Despite not being the focus of the film, Stuhlbarg, in many of his short scenes, manages to establish the inner workings of Mr Perlman’s mind as he watches his son Elio grow and change before his eyes. The most underappreciated performance of the film is that of young French actress, Esther Garrell. Portraying Marzia, a close friend and romantic partner of Elio’s, Garrell adopts the complexities of the character including the conflict, love and loss which she experiences. Her performance is one of the most intense in the film, full of innocent fun and elaborate heart-ache.

It is impossible to discuss the beauty of Call Me by Your Name without dedicating a part of it to the extraordinary talents of singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens, who wrote and performed original music for the soundtrack of Luca Guadagnino’s film. Featured in the trailer for the film, ‘Mystery of Love’ attracted mass attention and desperation to be heard in full. Stevens composed both ‘Mystery of Love’ and ‘Visions of Gideon’ which appear on the soundtrack of the film and perfectly encapsulate the feelings of Elio Perlman in each strikingly gorgeous note. The breathiness of Sufjan Stevens’ voice floats over each scene in which he features, adding an intense amount of emotion and melancholy.

The cinematography in the film is beautifully warm and comforting. Expanses of light, summery greens and blues overtake the colour palette, emotion seeping out of every shot. You lose yourself in the romantic allure of every single frame until you become engulfed in every movement of the camera, unaware that you are even watching a film. At this point, you are simply watching life play out before your very eyes.

Never have I been so emotionally affected by a piece of art. In all honesty, I haven’t stopped thinking about the film and how it made me feel since I watched it. It is a truly beautiful exploration of human nature and what love is, what it means and what it is like when it is taken away. Luca Guadagnino, Walter Fasano, James Ivory and the entire cast balance beauty and tragedy in this masterpiece of cinema. The film works beautifully in synchrony with the stunning book, the two fit together as coordinating pieces of art that can never be fully appreciated without the other. Every aspect is executed with tasteful intimacy in a truly poetic manner. As my dear friend Tori said in regards to the film, “you don’t have to have had similar experiences to be emotionally affected by it. You just have to be human.”

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Written by:

Nanci Rawsthorne
@nanci_lwt

Letterboxd
Freelance Contributor

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One Comment


  1.  
    Brad

    Thanks for this wonderful, perceptive and heartfelt review. This book and, now, this movie have been a balm in the first year of Trump. The world has gone crazy, but this story has been singular in reminding me that there is beauty in the love and the heartbreak in a human life. We are not alone in our rapture and isn’t that a marvelous thing.





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