Call Me By Your Name Review - The Greatest Romance of 2017
Runtime: 132mins | Director: Luca Guadagnino | Year: 2017 | Rating: 5 Stars
Earlier this year during the Oscars, Call Me By Your Name was the only Best Picture nomination I hadn’t managed to see through no other reason than a lack of time. I was desperate to see it, however, and I am pleased to report that I now have!
Based on the 2007 novel by André Aciman, Call Me By Your Name tells the story of 17-year-old Elio (Timothée Chalamet) who lives in rural Italy with his bourgeois parents - one of whom is a respected American professor (Michael Stuhlbarg). Each summer, his father routinely invites a graduate to intern with him and aid him in his research - this year, 24-year-old Oliver (Armie Hammer) stays with Elio and his family. Despite their differences, as the summer goes by and they spend more time together swimming, eating, reading and cycling the pair soon realise they don’t just have a beautiful friendship together, but are also in love.
Call Me By Your Name is a charming film for many reasons. But primarily, it is a wonderful and unique coming of age romance – a genre that I have always had a soft spot for. The story grapples with the timeless question of whether we should chase our desires and risk getting hurt or subdue them and instead risk a life of regret.
Despite initially disliking Oliver and finding him arrogant and rude, Elio falls in love with him and doesn’t know what to do. Does he ignore his feelings and risk regretting his decision or does he tell him and face either rejection, a lack of understanding from his parents, or worse, both?
These are feelings that anyone who has been in love or deeply liked someone can sympathise with on a basic level. And this is what makes Call Me By Your Name such a beautiful film – it elicits genuine sympathy for the characters and their situation whilst also portraying the joy the early stages of a romance holds. It makes you smile whilst also breaking your heart – something seemingly paradoxical and bittersweet.
Perhaps the biggest emotional resonance is felt during Michael Stuhlbarg’s end monologue where he validates Elio and Oliver’s relationship and tells Elio not to regret anything. It is nothing short of an Oscar-worthy delivery by Stuhlbarg and some of the best scriptwriting I have ever come across – it’s worth watching the film purely for this scene (which you can watch by clicking here - tissues are advised).
Amidst the fine acting and charming story, the beautiful cinematography shines through too, helmed by Sayombhu Mukdeeprom. The film is painted in swathes of sunflower yellows, ocean blues and cherry reds layered underneath a gentle fade reminiscent of a Polaroid picture. Transitioning from scenes in their bedrooms, bike rides into quaint Italian towns and walks through the mountains, the film is a pleasure to watch from start to finish and makes you desperate to visit Italy.
In short, Call Me By Your Name is a near-perfect film which will stay in your mind for a long time. Featuring stunningly powerful performances from Timothée Chalamet, Armie Hammer and Michael Stuhlbarg in particular, you will leave feeling happy, sad and emotionally spent.
That being said, I’ll never look at a peach in the same way again, nor Timothée Chalamet...
To watch the trailer – click here.