Johnny Bullet
Home Theatre
Call Me by Your Name (2017)
By Hervé St-Louis

June 9, 2022 - 10:26

Studios: Frenesy Film Company, La Cinéfacture, RT Features, Water's End Productions, M.Y.R.A. Entertainment, Ministero dei Beni e delle Attività Culturali e del Turismo, Lombardia Film Commission
Writer(s): James Ivory; André Aciman
Starring: Timothée Chalamet, Armie Hammer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar, Esther Garrel
Directed by: Luca Guadagnino
Produced by: Emilie Georges, Luca Guadagnino, James Ivory, Marco Morabito, Howard Rosenman, Peter Spears, Rodrigo Teixeira
Running Time: 132 minutes
Release Date: 22 January 2017
Rating: R (Restricted)
Distributors: Sony Pictures Releasing

Research assistant Oliver travels to Italy to work with an archaeology professor in his research. There, he stumbles upon the son of the researcher, Elios, who also notices him and denies having any feelings for the older man. Before the summer is over, the two men fall in love, but their love is illicit and secretive. Can this relationship last?

Call Me by Your Name is an adaptation of the 2007 novel of the same title by author André Aciman. While not autobiographical, the novel and the film closely resemble the odd multicultural mix of Aciman’s family, with a household where French, English, Italian and other languages are spoken freely by Professor Perlman’s family. This is a worldly and sophisticated environment where Elios and Oliver which allowed for such an elicit relationship to develop. It is as if there was an upper-class of homosexuals where such transgressions between a 17-year-old and a 24-year-old was possible and tolerated.

I dislike this as clearly, Elios was a kid and immature, regardless of consenting ages in Italy. The tacit tolerance and encouragement of such relationship was inappropriate. The theme of the film was tolerance and acceptance, in this case of Elios’ First crush on an older man, as he discovered his sexuality. The casting plays a big role in making this film so uncomfortable. Timothée Chalamet’s Elios looks like he’s 17, even though he was closer to 21 when he shot the film. Armie Hammer’s Oliver does not look like a 24-year-old man. At the time the film was shot, he looked like older than his 31 years. He looked 35.

The film is not played realistically, even though the characters all converse and switch back and forth between a variety of languages. Then, there is the soapy soundtrack by Sufjan Stevens making it seem as if the film is a teenaged girl summer flick, further romanticizing the problematic film.

The production and the acting were good. Perhaps it is genuine chemistry between Chalamet and Hammer that makes this film so uncomfortable. They do seem to bond for real in the movie and It is painful to see this relationship normalized. This film is for a particular crowd that likes trendsetting lifestyles and elite sophistication. The film aspires at grand cinema pedigree which it fakes quite well. This film is not for everybody.

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