Call Me By Your Name review Armie Hammer Timothee Chalamet stillYear: 2017
Director(s): Luca Guadagnino
Writer(s): James Ivory, Andre Aciman
Region of Origin: US

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Rating: R
35mm, Color, 132 mins

Synopsis: Seventeen year-old Elio begins a relationship with visiting Oliver, bonding over his emerging sexuality, their Jewish heritage, and the beguiling Italian landscape. (Source)

Who we really are, who we say we are, and who we present ourselves to the world are often drastically different things. The spaces in which these three identities converge and conflict are what anchor Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name. Adapted from Andre Aciman’s novel of the same name, Guadagnino’s film is an intoxicating portrait of love and repression, sweet and tender, without any false sentiment. Crafted with empathy and boasting incandescent performances from Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet, Guadagnino’s film isn’t something that allows us to be bystanders, but an experience that celebrates the importance of leaning into our feelings to find our truest selves.

In early 1980s Italy, an archeology professor named Mr. Perlman (Michael Stuhlbarg) invites an American graduate student, Oliver (Armie Hammer), to assist him for the summer. Once there, Perlman’s teenage son, Elio (Timothee Chalamet), takes to the confident, older Oliver’s charm and intellect, offering to help him acclimate to his foreign surroundings. Elio and Oliver immediately click, despite having little in common, verbally sparing about academics, music, books, philosophy. Sharing a bathroom situated between two adjoining rooms, the two are thrust beyond their comfort zone, and deeper feelings develop. As the summer rages on, Elio and Oliver are forced to confront how they feel about each other before its too late.

On every level, Guadagnino’s film is a triumph of impeccable craft, boundless warmth and understated eroticism, all mashed together into a coming-of-age story that’s as intoxicating as it is urgent. While there isn’t anything in the film we haven’t seen before, Guadagnino’s immersion is unparalleled and recaptures the complexity and wonder of youth. We don’t just watch the film, we take part in it, as respect, admiration and first love take hold and come from a pure place. At a time when toxic masculinity is everywhere, and love stories are either fluff or reduced to either perverse power plays, Guadagnino avoids sensationalism with something raw and honest. In essence, the film’s beauty comes from a realism that’s made richer by staying grounded and thriving in each expressive moment.

Call Me By Your Name review Armie Hammer Timothee ChalametNaturally, nothing wouldn’t work without the uninhibited performances of Chalamet and Hammer. Chalamet is the film’s center, taking us into the story with his curiosity as Elio watches Oliver and tries to figure him out. As the younger character, Elio is is more malleable despite being headstrong and having convictions of his own, and Chalamet’s coy charm keeps us on our toes. Hammer’s Oliver is a perfect opposite, fully formed, unafraid to speak his mind, and not afraid to assert himself to get what he whats. Hammer is absolutely magnetic, a presence that the film’s world orbits around whenever he’s on screen, and a lingering shadow when absent. Together, both Hammer and Chalamet have a chemistry most co-stars could never hope to achieve, making the film pop with its sensuous abandon and youthful spark.

After a story that unfolds completely naturally, bucking fierce structure for free-flowing atmosphere and candid spontaneity, things come to a close with a powerful reminder that the more we suppress ourselves, the more we’re destined to lose what matters to us. It’s a beautiful sentiment that is wholly earned, with Guadagnino’s humane flourishes locking in place through a moment of artful and narrative beauty. Call Me By Your Name is a rich celebration of family, identity and love, positing that love and heartbreak are forever intertwined, and that acknowledging this painful truth is the only way to find peace.