Call Me By Your Name

Call Me By Your Name 
 
(Luca Guadagnino, 2017)
 
Rating: 4/5 
 
Reviewed by Dave Lancaster
 
Summary: An incendiary coming of age in sun-drenched Italy - few films are as ravishing and passionate as Call Me By Your Name. 
 
Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name made a star out of Timothée Chalamet, finally got an Oscar for veteran filmmaker James Ivory (who penned the script) and rode the wave of a scandal-riddled Hollywood to help promote equality. Regardless of this trailblazing, career-capping and right-place-right-time positioning, Call Me By Your Name is no one off. This beautiful and rewarding film deserves all its plaudits and then some. 
 
Timothée Chalamet is mesmerising as Elio Perlman, a 17-year-old living in Italy, whose discovery of himself amid the hazy boredom and intellectual entrenchment is derailed when he falls for his father's 24-year-old American assistant, Oliver (Armie Hammer). 
 
 
James Ivory, the brilliant director of Remains of the Day (he knows a thing or to about forbidden love), was set to co-direct the film with A Bigger Splash’s Luca Guadagnino after spending over half a year penning the script. Stepping aside so the younger auteur could take the lead afforded the film the kind of fresh, dynamic energy that Ivory’s own films negate in favour of a more stately presentation. 
 
Call Me By Name needed this sacrifice. Indeed, it’s hard to imagine it directed any other way. Even in his stillness of composition, there’s that colourful bristle of desire that ran through the likes of Renoir and Bertolucci’s works. 
 
The director himself said this "I wanted the audience to completely rely on the emotional travel of these people and feel first love ... It was important to me to create this powerful universality, because the whole idea of the movie is that the other person makes you beautiful—enlightens you, elevates you.” He definitely succeeded. 
 
 
“Emotional travel” is such a good summary of the subgenre that Guadagnino has lovingly crafted. You are transported by Elio and Oliver’s discoveries and shared experiences. The controversy of a homosexual pairing in the 1980s (in a heavily Catholic country to boot) isn’t the focus. This is a film about the lovers, not the orientation of the love depicted. In that respect, it’s a universal coming of age tale. It’s first love, not forbidden love. You need to see it. 
 
Special features on the Blu-ray include: 
 
  • “Snapshots of Italy: The Making of Call Me By Your Name” featurette
  • In Conversation With Armie Hammer, Timothee Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg & Luca Guadagnino
  • Commentary With Timothï Chalamet & Michael Stuhlbarg
  • Commentary With Luca Guadagnino
  • “Mystery of Love” by Sufjan Stevens Music Video

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