Call Me By Your Name Is A Painful Must Watch. Here’s Why
The film awakens all five senses – and then some
When it was released at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, Call Me By Your Name sent viewers and critics into a natural high that took hours – if not days – to get down from. Since then, actors Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer have been busy promoting the film as it premieres in cinemas around the world. And yet, even months after it first grabbed our attention, Call Me By Your Name was a painful surprise.
Set in 1983, Call Me By Your Name starts off innocent enough. Elio is a 17-year-old American-Italian living with his family in an Italian villa; Oliver is a 24-year-old American graduate student who arrives to intern under Elio’s professor father for the summer. And then, almost all at once, the story they share begins to unfold under the summer sun.
Elio is immediately intrigued by Oliver. And just after a few days together, this intrigue quickly transforms into a torturous love that Elio tries to keep at bay – at least in the beginning. The two dance quietly and with caution around their unspoken attraction, especially during the times that they cannot yet verbalize what their bodies and hearts are loudly saying.
In an attempt to deny each other, the two attract the local girls, Elio with his musical gifts and flirtatious nature, Oliver with his American slang and enviable body. But once the words are said and the distance is closed between them, the two embark on a love that is palpable, confusing and all-encompassing.
Call Me By Your Name is, almost without a doubt, the sexiest love story of 2017. Every scene, whether it holds a telling look, a seemingly innocent swim or a stroll beneath the apricot trees, tastes like an aphrodisiac that leads to something bigger. And the narrative of the romance between Elio and Oliver is not limited in the slightest by its homosexual nature.
Instead of inserting discrimination and social scoffs, director Luca Guadagnino paints a moving portrait that is simply about falling in love. Unlike its predecessors like Brokeback Mountain, it humanizes the attraction between two young men in refreshing banter. There are no side street beat-ups and no underhanded threats. Just the picture of what love could be like if we only let it grow.
This is most evident in how Elio speaks to Oliver. The younger man knows that he can talk about things that matter to him, in a way he never could with anyone else. It is in these conversations that we can all relate, because rgardless of sexual orientation, we have all been hit by that thing we eventually learned to call love.
As Elio’s father explains the art he studies, something hits home with every member of the audience. “There’s not a straight line in any of these statues,” he says matter-of-factly. “They’re all curved, as if daring you to desire them.”
Call Me By Your Name is showing in select cinemas around the Metro. Do yourself a favor and catch it while you can.