Call Me by Your Name had been buzzed about since early November and after getting the chance to finally see the Oscar-nominated film, it did everything except disappoint. The film was released in late 2017, but just recently made its way to more accessible theaters in January. Call Me by Your Name stars Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer and takes place in Italy during the early 1980s. Elio (Chalamet) quickly falls for his father’s research partner Oliver (Hammer), as they bond over their time together. Oliver is a lot older than Elio, but despite the age difference, their love is truly unique and intimate. It’s a tale of first love and is emotional in every sense of the word. The entire film is a case study of their relationship and we act as flies on the wall while we observe how their relationship grows.
The performances are what drive this film to its critical and box office successes. Chalamet as Elio is one of the best dramatic performances of the year, earning him a best actor Oscar nomination. His performance meshes with Armie Hammer’s making an unbelievably romantic pairing with incredible chemistry. Possibly the greatest part of this film are these two characters and watching how the genius performances make the film a reality.
The underrated performance here is without a doubt, Michael Stuhlbarg as Mr. Perlman, Elio’s father and Oliver’s research partner. Mr. Perlman is kind hearted, empathetic and loving, making Stuhlbarg’s performance quietly beautiful. 2017 was clearly Stuhlbarg’s year as he also starred in Guillermo Del Toro’s The Shape of Water, Steven Spielberg’s The Post and the critically acclaimed series, Fargo on FX. However, given his success of 2017, this is by far his best performance of the year, and possibly his entire acting career.
The sense of realism is evident from start to finish. This is due to the cinematography, the performances and Luca Guadagnino’s brilliant direction. The film immerses us in Italy’s culture and we feel as though we are actually there, forgetting that we’re watching a film. As cliché as that sounds, it’s a reality with Call Me by Your Name. The cinematography is beautiful and is an important element in bringing us into the story.
The film is quiet and touching. While the film is quiet, it speaks volumes about love. When two people love each other, two people love each other and that is all that matters. Call Me by Your Name shows us the beauty of falling in love, especially with first love, while keeping homosexual oppression out of the story. Other films that take on that task do so brilliantly, such as Barry Jenkins’s Moonlight. However, the film is not about that and is just about love in general.
Call Me by Your Name seems to be perfect in every element of filmmaking including, acting, cinematography, screenwriting, direction, and musical score. The film is a flat out, quietly beautiful masterpiece.
Rated R for sexual content, nudity and some language