›› Call Me by Your Name ‹‹

a film by Luca Guadagnino.

2017 | 132 mins | Italy.

a captivating meditation on a young man's transition to adulthood.

Dave says:

Based on the novel by André Aciman and adapted for the screen by no less than James Ivory, in the process becoming the oldest recipient of an Oscar at the ripe age of 89, this touching and yet equally poignant coming-of-age tale as set during the summer of 1983, is as lush as the Italian countryside that forms the picture postcard backdrop to the relationship between precocious seventeen-year-old Elio, as wondrously played by Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer as Oliver; the at times arrogant American who comes to stay at the family villa during the course of the summer; officially working as Elio's father's research assistant, but who seemingly ends up spending more time with his son. And in more ways, than one.

Sure, this is none other than yet another variant of the rites-of-passage scenario, but it's beautifully staged and executed, if perhaps overlong for some and whilst this may well be a spoiler, thankfully it does not end when the two men inevitably part, but is complete with a reflective close-of-play on the meaning of life and love, as delivered by Michael Stuhlbarg who as Elio's father excels in a Robin Williams type role of an eminent professor wise in both his subject, Greco-Roman culture and the ways of the world.

More contemplative than many a gay work of late, with Elio spending his days both playing and transcribing classical music, that is when he's not reading or flirting with his best friend Marzia (Esther Garrel), such was the acclaim for this feature, that a sequel is all but guaranteed. No surprise really, given this is but an emotional cat-and-mouse game, with James Ivory's compelling screenplay ever teasing you over the feelings that both men hold for each other, if not the true nature of their sexuality; both clearly taking delight in the female form, even if their heart is telling them something else.

Premiered in the UK on the 22nd June, 2020 as part of the Film4 season of films to celebrate Gay Pride, this captivating meditation on a young man's transition to adulthood makes for essential viewing, even if the sexual chemistry between the two men fails to ignite the screen. Frankly, Hammer is miscast as the supposed twenty-four-year-old intern of the piece, (he was thirty when filming took place), making the requisite scenes of sexual intimacy between the two whilst tastefully shot, nonetheless somewhat uncomfortable viewing due to the disparity between their ages. Given the fact that Oliver's age is not mentioned in the film, such could be seen as an older man preying on the beauty of youth, whereas in reality such acts were not only consensual, but had Elio all but longing for more than just a manly embrace. And here Chalamet comes into his own, given he is totally believable in the role of a gifted teenager seemingly wise beyond his years, yet all too naïve when it comes to the emotions of the heart. Both moving and heartbreaking in equal measure, above all this is a beautifully told tale of first love. Need more be said?

›› available on DVD from Amazon.
›› check out the Official Trailer on YouTube.
›› posted: Friday, 19th June, 2020.

Gay Visibility - overt. 
Nudity - bare-arsed cheek. 
Overall - file under ... 4 stars. 

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