After some time seeing this movie's poster on social media and wondering what it was, as well as reading tweets of fans losing their minds over some "Elio and Oliver" thing, I finally decided to watch "Call me by your name" on a Sunday afternoon. I had no expectations at all, knew barely anything about the plot and simply pressed play.
How did I not hear about this before? I don't know but I don't care. I wish I could say that I would have wanted to watch this movie long before I did and have more time to enjoy it and talk about it, but I am actually pretty upset that I am never going to get to watch this again for the first time. Because this story has so much magic that I think the best way to watch it is without knowing what is going to happen next. And that only happened to me last Sunday afternoon, laying on my bed with my laptop on top and no expectation at all. I wish I could unsee this just so that I could live it one more time.
In case my introduction was not clear enough to express whether I liked the movie, I am going to sum up my feelings in three words: Oh. My. God. You definitely need to check this out if you have not done it yet, I am almost positive that you are going to like it and come back to thank me later. I surely hope you do.
What is this movie about? This is what IMDb says: In Northern Italy in 1983, seventeen year-old Elio begins a relationship with visiting Oliver, his father's research assistant, with whom he bonds over his emerging sexuality, their Jewish heritage, and the beguiling Italian landscape.
Some people say it's a gay story. Some others say it's a summer story. Some people say it's a love story. I like to refere to this movie as the tale of two young men falling in love during the summer. It is undeniable that the main characters are involved in a homosexual relationship in this movie, but I would never describe it as just a gay movie, because it is not. It does not deal with the struggle of coming out or accepting who you are, so it is not the typical gay story we are used to. This is so much different. I think this movie is a love story independent of the characters' gender and sexuality. Even more so, this is a summer love story. A summer first love story. One that will for sure break your heart if you have any at all.
Elio Perlman is seventeen when he meets Oliver. He is also very sexually confused and pretty much emotionally lost. He is young and he feels something when he startes at Oliver, when he is in the same room as Oliver, when he thinks of Oliver... he feels an undeniable attraction towards this older man who is staying in his house for six long weeks. But I am going to leave these details about the story for my book review, which will be posted as soon as I get a copy on my hands. Let's discuss cinematographic aspects.
If you have watched this movie, you must have noticed how great the lighting is. Or, at least, that's how it seems to me. The light is somehow perfect for the time of the year this story is set in. I was wrapped up in a blanket (it is wintertime when I decide to watch this movie) and the moment the screen lit up with such a colorful and summer-y light, I wanted to go to the nearest beach and swim for a while. This movie looks like summer. And it also sounds like summer. You can hear some flies throughout the movie, also the sea, swimming pool noises, summer parties at night, bikes running around... aren't you getting those summer vibes just by reading this? I bet this movie would taste like summer too, were it possible.
The structure of the movie was on point. Now, I still have not gotten to the book, but I am pretty sure that it is structured similarly. Sometimes I would feel weird at the order of the sequences or at one scene popping out nowhere and totally breaking the scheme I was building in my mind. I think that is what makes this story ridiculously real. Spontaneous. Great. Also, can we please admire how great it is that there are sequence shots in this movie? It made everything so much more real and directly took me into the Italian town. I became part of this story, and I think that is something I have to personally thank to Luca Guadagnino for directing this story so well and building it so truthfully.
Let's discuss the cast. I am mostly focusing on our main characters, Elio (Timothée Chalamet) and Oliver (Armie Hammer). You know when something really good happens and you have absolutely no words to describe it? That kind of happens to me with these two actors. They were meant to become these characters. Their chemistry is totally palpable and their tension in the first third of the movie even made me feel uncomfortable. You see, a few days have gone by since I watched it and I still think of them so much that I am starting to worry. They were perfectly cut out for their roles and they did so good I just... my heart is bursting again. Let me recover for a second. Their relationship is seriously so genuine and real and pure and beautiful and oh, my God. So heart-breaking too, very much. And very sensual.
Timothée's last scene is a masterpiece. I wish videos were printable so I could hang that one up on my wall. Honestly that great. The last third of he movie was, in general, tremendously great. The pain and feelings so raw and perfectly portrayed on the screen, the summer coming to an end, everything coming to and end and Elio, Elio, Elio, Elio, Elio.... (if you understood this last thing, I am sorry to have broken your heart again by reminding you, I really am).
Let me try and wrap all of this up. "Call me by your name" is a movie you totally need to watch because of how it is directed, shot and performed. True talent, chemistry, romance and self-discovery, all set in a small Italian town during the summer. Excellent and unique.