Tony's Take

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME review

Love Has Never Been So Heartbreaking

Luca Guadagnino’s latest, “Call Me By Your Name”, provides an intimate look-into an Italian teen’s life during the summer of 1983.  The Perlman family, in Northern Italy, take-in a foreign exchange student every year and this year’s student is arriving shortly.  Oliver (played by Armie Hammer), from the United States, is a student and is there to serve as an understudy to Mr. Perlman (Michael Stuhlbarg).  Caught-in-the-middle of it all is Elio (Timothée Chalamet), Mr. And Mrs. Perlman’s son.  While their time together is little at-first, Elio soon begins to find himself infatuated by Oliver.  Set in the backdrop of the beautiful Italian countryside, Elio quickly realizes that these feelings may be more than just a passing thought.

While we watch Elio’s feeling unravel across the screen, he forms a strong bond with Oliver that spirals-into something much greater, something seemingly natural and true.  The two quickly-act on their raw feelings of lust and intimacy, creating a friendship that goes far deeper than one could possibly imagine.  Witnessing Elio and Oliver’s love is bound to be interpreted and reacted-to differently from viewer to viewer, but no one can argue how authentic and real their relationship feels and translates to the screen.  This is a testament to the incredible performances from our main cast, specifically Hammer and Chalamet.  Chalamet’s insecurity and confusion is truly a revelation and Hammer’s mundane and eagerness to play-it-cool is a perfect coupling.  There is no surprise that these two have both been listed in the nominations that have been revealed so far, and I fully expect to see them on the stage at some point as well!  “Call Me By Your Name” boasts a strong supporting cast as well, led by Stuhlbarg and also including Amira Casar (Annella, Elio’s mother), Esther Garrel (Marzia, Elio’s girlfriend), Vanda Capriolo (Mafalda, the Perlman’s housekeeper), and Peter Spears (Uncle Isaac).  Stuhlbarg gets an especially emotional and revealing monologue towards the end of the film that is sure to resonate with those who find plenty to relate to with Elio and Oliver.  Set in the beautiful Italian countryside, Guadagnino’s work showcases the wonder and beauty surrounding the characters, whether it’s the nearby pool or the ornate buildings in the town square; adding depth and realism to the film’s story elements.

“Call Me By Your Name” is, in essence, an ode to those who struggle with their sexual identity.  Rather than hide it from everyone they know and love, embrace it and become fully-accepting of who you are is the film’s message; one that completely hits and will certainly hit close-to-home for some.   Films such as “Call Me By Your Name” don’t come very often, which is why this film’s beauty, elegance, and love story is such a sight to behold; and one that viewers of all sexual orientations will enjoy!  Not only is it an important film, but it is truly one of the best films of 2017!     

 4.5/5

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME is rated R for sexual content, nudity and some language, in theaters DECEMBER 22ND!         

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