Director: Luca Guadagnino
Writer: James Ivory (screenplay by), André Aciman (based on the novel by)
Starring: Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar, Esther Garrel, and more.
Among the Oscar Best Pictures for the year of 2018, two films stand out as films that I knew virtually nothing about. Those films are “Phantom Thread” and “Call Me By Your Name”. With that being said, heading into “Call Me By Your Name” with the limited knowledge consisting of an IMDB summary and a seldom article read here and there talking about the film, it is time to deliver an Oberrating to the Best Picture contender.
“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.”
“Call Me By Your Name” may well be my unexpected shock of the awards season. After reading the film synopsis, I fashioned a quick expectation for the film which was that I would coast through the film and see a standard quality that most Best Pictures have. Upon finishing the film, I was in awe of the final product. This was a masterfully told story. It carried itself with such grace and sophistication. I was blown away by how natural the film felt as it explored young Elio and his finding of himself.
With “Call Me By Your Name”, the film presents Elio as he explores his emerging sexuality. With this being said, you would think the film would feel “Moonlight”-ish but from my perspective, this film is what I truly wanted and expected by film’s end in regards to the topic of sexuality and finding oneself.
As for the performances, there is not enough singing to do about them. Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet, and with an honorable mention to Michael Stuhlbarg, these three were glowing on screen. The chemistry between Armie and Timothée is natural and delightful. The two of them are the core reasons for the film feeling as light and graceful as it did for me. Armie is always a joy to watch on film but Timothée Chalamet surely has the talent to roll through the film world for years to come. From his supporting role in “Lady Bird” and now this lead role in “Call Me By Your Name”, it is only uphill from here.
I mention Michael Stuhlbarg because he has an ending monologue that strikes the heart as he interacts with Timothée Chalamet. I simply could not move my eyes away during the speech as well as move my eyes from Elio taking every word in. A wonderful film moment.
As a fair warning to anyone that may wish to see the film after reading my glowing response to the film. The film is rated-R for a reason, there are sexual scenes that some may find awkward or uncomfortable. But personally, that is something that is yet again a positive point from my perspective. Love is not perfect like some standard Hollywood romance films make them out to be. There can be an awkwardness to it. A mystery. “Call Me By Your Name” presents that as so.
“Call Me By Your Name” was a shocking delight to watch. Carried by stellar performances of Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer, the film flows seamlessly and naturally. Featuring beautiful sights spread throughout Italy, I found it hard not to fall in love with this film and its story. An unexpected hit among all these powerful Best Picture films. I highly recommend “Call Me By Your Name” for those who enjoy a delicate and beautiful romance drama about finding oneself.