“Call Me by Your Name” stars Timothée Chalamet, Armie Hammer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar, Esther Garrel, and Victoire Du Bois. Released on November 24, 2017, the film follows the romantic relationship between a 17-year-old Italian and his father’s assistant from America.
The film is directed by Luca Guadagnino, who also directed films such as Melissa P., I Am Love, and A Bigger Splash. It is based on the 2007 novel of the same name by André Aciman, and serves as the final installment in Guadagnino’s Desire trilogy. This is another award-potential film that I was waiting so long to see since its release. I haven’t had that much experience with Guadagnino’s other works, but since his latest film is getting plenty of Oscar buzz, I might as well start now. I know that I’m supposed to review the new releases first, but with the Oscar nominations coming up, I had to make this my top priority. While I didn’t love it as much as the critics did, I did manage to appreciate its artistic filmmaking.
The film’s story offers a lot of dialogue-driven scenes and plenty of beautiful shots of Italy. So, if you’re a fan at this type of stuff, then you should have no problem watching it. This is a well-crafted film that centers around first love between a man and another man, and while it didn’t impact me emotionally, it did its job at portraying the feelings that surround this type of relationship thanks to Guadagnino’s direction and James Ivory’s screenplay. Hammer and Chalamet provided some great chemistry together as Oliver and Elio, respectively. In fact, they’re the only two actors that kept this film going for me. The main reason why is its running time. It clocks in at around two hours and 17 minutes, which includes plenty of drawn-out, yet respectively paced, scenes filled with dialogue and silence. It does feel like that it overstayed its welcome by 20 minutes, but I wasn’t entirely bored of it because of the entertaining chemistry between the two main actors. It’s like listening to music on your smartphone during a three-hour road trip. The trip itself can be a bore at times, but the music helps you prevent it from being a total snooze-fest. Speaking of music, the score that is composed by Sufjan Stevens was very beautiful to listen to. It gracefully matches the serenity and calmness of Italy and the characters themselves. The cinematography also helps in showcasing the beauty of the locations and the film’s emotions. Aside from its running time and the pacing, the only major flaw I had with the film is Elio’s girlfriend, Marzia (played by Esther Garrel). I have no problems with Marzia. She’s a good character. It’s just that if the film is really about love between two men, then I don’t think Elio’s relationship with her is necessary. The fact that Elio has two relationships, one with a female and the other with another man, makes the concept even more awkward than it is now, but that’s just me expressing my personal feelings towards it.
Overall, “Call Me by Your Name” is exquisite and graceful filmmaking despite its overlong running time and Elio’s unnecessary relationship with Marzia. I didn’t really see anything special about this film, but it was a nice watch regardless. However, I do feel that it may not be for everyone due to its concept. If it’s playing at a theater near you, it’s worth checking out before the Oscars.