Call Me by Your Name, 2017
Signed up the 28/03/2017
So, Call Me by Your Name tells the story of two males, one old, one a teen, who end up having a perfect little forbidden summer romance somewhere in some boring town in Italy. All sounds good on paper right? Right! Does it translate as well on screen? Hmm.
Armie Hammer plays the highbrow, playful stud Oliver who comes into town to work on a project. Timothée Chalamet plays Elio, the son of Oliver's business associate, Mr. Perlman. The romance quickly kicks in when Oliver moves into the Perlmans' home, where Elio begins to become enchanted by Oliver's spiritedness and confidence. Though Elio is still trying to figure his sexuality out, he's not afraid to take that extra leap to explore possibilities beyond heteronormativity. He has a girl he's seeing, but there's this guy who's keeping his head... I mean mind... awake every other night and he needs to scratch the itch, and so he does!
Not beating about the bush and making things unnecessarily awakward and too emotional without the precision beyond convenience to back it is perhaps what I admire about this film. It knows that it needn't be sad and dramatic without cause. It instead plays out like a private diary reading.
It feels like a very personal display, a sweet whisper to whom ever might be watching. This fact could lead to disappointment, though, when we discover half way through the movie that what it sorely lack is emotion. It doesn't help that the lead actors (characters? Whatever) aren't connecting as well as they need to be. This also weighs the story down a good deal as it isn't able to unfold as naturally as it needs to. There's no point in the entire film where the audience may perhaps feel overwhelming emotions. What's the point if the audience is indifferent?
We're not anxious to find out what happens next. We're not even rooting for Oliver and Elio. We're just here because we're here, and we'll be stuck here for some two hours because of the excellent music choice and the amazing scenery, or even just Armie and Timothée gorgeous faces, and/or something else either than the story itself.
Oh, and the title of the movie is as pretentious as the movie itself. Someone utters it in the movie as though it were supposed to evoke emotion and hold a higher meaning, but I personally wanted to scream at the screen; "that's it?! That's why the movie is titled how it's titled? My god!"
Side-note: Timothée is an actor to note. The kid absolutely knows what he's doing, and he's not letting up anytime soon. I can see him as a future DiCaprio of this time. He holds his role with such resolution that you begin wishing the script had more to offer him!
All-in-all I'd not completely write the movie off, but the script unfortunately weakens the narrative arc too much to bear through the uninspiring, dusty subplots. If you want to chill back and watch a light, quirky romance between two strangers and not have much to take away in the end besides having watched a romance movie, then this is the movie for you! If you were perhaps looking for a much stronger and deeper, and even emotional, narrative then watch the likes of Carol or the recent Beach Rats. Call Me by Your Name is merely an account of a timed love story that transpired between two guys who were both bored during a summer in a quiet town, and nothing more. Geez, not even the erotica is motivating!
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