Seventeen-old Elio lives with her archaeologist father and mother in Northern Italy. A musical prodigy in his own right, his family’s days are made up sun-kissed afternoons spent outside reading bookings or conversing in grown-up conversation. Into this balmy, academic vista enters Oliver, a research assistant from America. However his handsome arrival raises much more than eyes. By turn charming and also gratingly boorish, Oliver quickly casts a shadow of over the emotional landscape of both Elio and his family, which only serves to infuriate and intrigue the young adolescent.
Directed by Luca Guadagnino from a script James Ivory, ‘Call Me By Your Name’ marks the final instalment in his Desire trilogy started with ‘I Am Love’ and ‘A Bigger Splash’. In keeping with his previous films, this latest chapter is imbued with the same kind of visual aesthetic and cerebral exchanges. Everyone here is smart, everyone has important work to do and the drama is framed inside the ambitions (or the lack of) of its characters.
…laced with subtle subtexts that ultimately puncture each character’s meaning.
Time moves slowly. Hard baked in the Italian sunshine, the film’s pace mirrors the balmy environment of its story. That said, in the experienced hands of ‘A Passage To India’s James Ivory the dialogue is both believable and laced with subtle subtexts that ultimately puncture each character’s meaning.
In the role of Elio, actor Timothée Chalamet embodies the precociousness of youth caught on the cusp of adulthood. By turn louche and languid, his stick-thin frame peppered with penetrating eyes dart out at his house guest. As Oliver, Armie Hammer also impresses. Playing against type and building upon his recent run of credible performances (as evidenced in ‘Final Portrait’) Hammer again convinces in all regards. A notably graceful dance between both men, neither actor leads the other and the gears of their relationship change so imperceptibly that, by its close, ‘Call Me By Your Name’ immediately warrants a second viewing.
In fact Guadagnino’s movie is a film that saves its very best for last. In a beautifully judged piece of both acting and scriptwriting, the final twenty minutes serve up a scene so deeply affecting that it nearly eclipses the finale. –You’ll know when you see it. Coupled with an extended end section that bleeds right through the credits, this is also film that will leave you in no doubt as to Timothée Chalamet’s talent or his much deserved Best Actor nomination. Cherish these closing embers as they hold the key to a smouldering, thoughtful drama that will ultimately take your breath away.0