“Call Me By Your Name” is a film directed by Luca Guadagnino adapted from André Aciman’s novel about love, but not just simply love–the purest, warmest, rarest love that stems from deep care and consideration from both people involved.
The film takes place in the summer of 1983 in Lombardy, Italy. It focuses mostly on the relationship between main characters Elio and Oliver. Elio, (played by Timothée Chalamet, Lady Bird) is a seventeen year old, music–transcribing, book–reading boy of Italian-American descent and Oliver, (played by Armie Hammer, The Social Network) a twenty-four year old, handsome, charming, graduate research assistant staying with the family for the summer.
“Call me by your name and I’ll call you by mine,” is one of the numerous lines in the film that make the audience truly reflect and think about love in different contexts. The two different types of love in this film are romantic and familial love. The importance of this line is clear because of the title of the film, but it also is deeper than what is seen on the surface: it is about practising self-love and the sentiment to not be afraid or ashamed of who you are. Calling someone else by your own name is a specified, intimate way of communication in this story and it speaks loudly.
The setting of the movie is incredibly beautiful–full of biking paths and cobblestone streets, rolling green hills and clear water to swim in, making the experience of seeing the movie the most calming to watch because of the aesthetic value of the scenery and landscapes.
The story begins with Oliver showing up at the family’s home in Lombardy in the beginning of summer. The house is an old, worn villa with ivy running up and down its outside, an enormous amount of light, and bookshelves lining the walls. Oliver is staying for six weeks, using Elio’s room to sleep in and, in the beginning, Elio is dreading the length of time he won’t be in his own bedroom because of a twenty-four year old man who says goodbye with the phrase, “Later,” initially annoying everyone in the house.
As the film progresses, Elio begins to feel strangely about his feelings toward Oliver. There is an apparent age gap between both Elio and Oliver, one being a gawky teen and the other being an older, handsome, charming American; it is not recognized or discussed at all throughout the film. Elio was not expecting his summer of 1983 to go as it did, for he had the most beautiful “more than a friendship” with Oliver.
Throughout the film, there are constant warm tones shaping the story. It might be because Italian culture is one of physical expressiveness, but almost every scene includes an embrace. In the first scene when Oliver arrives, Elio flies downstairs as soon as his father calls him with not a moment of hesitance. He then quickly, but lovingly hugs and kisses his mother. The amount of love (not always romantic) in this film is truly fascinating. The love and completely undying support that Elio’s parents have for him is beautiful. “We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new.” Elio’s father says this to him when he needs it most and it is such an inspiring quote, leaving the audience thinking about how imperative it is to feel.
What was most impressive in this film was the lack of a discussion of sexuality. While sexuality is something to be discussed and spoken about freely, it is also okay to not discuss it explicitly and to just be who you are. Elio’s parents being so completely accepting of him was surprising and was something that I had not seen extensively in contemporary movies. His sexuality was not explicitly discussed, but it wasn’t ignored either. His father brings him great insight with “nature has cunning ways of finding our weakest spots,”and a deep discussion of feelings and how important it is to let yourself feel is touched upon, which is another surprising discussion I had never seen before.
“Call Me By Your Name” conveys all beautiful things, and will probably pull at your heartstrings, make you laugh, draw you in to listen and, perhaps, help reevaluate the way you feel about love. It is a must see.
“Call Me By Your Name” was released Jan. 19, 2018 and is still in theaters. It was nominated for Best Motion Picture in the Drama category of the Golden Globes and is also nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture.