I have been reviewing for over six years, but only over the last three or so have I gone hard into getting those Oscar nominated films in as well. And every year we have movies hyped throughout the year about their chances, for their actors, directors, and so forth.
I usually can always get to the super hyped films early enough to not feel so late in the conversation.
That feels less true for something like Call Me By Your Name, which has been hyped consistently for so long this year. It feels like this is the only film people are talking about, on multiple categories. And yet, it took me so. damn. long. To see.
I didn’t even get to see it in theaters, but instead a dinky screener, because it turns out an invite was lost for me over a month ago. Oh well, I did get it, well before Oscar nominations were announced, this has just been one of my bigger fears of a film I thought I’d never get to see.
To avoid uncomfortable moments like this, I generally opt to be on the “shirts” team.
In the early 1980’s the world was a wonderful place, now that Nixon and Vietnam and Disco were done. The sun was shining, but the globe wasn’t too warm, and people tended to chill a bit more. In 1983, and in Italy, it was a wonderful, quaint place to be. Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet) recently turned 18 and was living with his parents (Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar) in the Italian countryside. His dad was a professor of archaeology, so he was there for statues and pots.
And this summer, we are getting Oliver (Armie Hammer) to join them for a few months. He is a graduate student and he is going to assist the professor in work and writing. Sounds way better than my summers in graduate school.
Elio and Oliver are very different people, as Elio is a quiet person for the most part and a lover of playing music, while Oliver is far more outgoing. Elio has a girlfriend, Marzia (Esther Garrel), an actual Italian girl, and things are getting serious. But Elio is young and unsure of himself. In fact, he is starting to find Oliver mesmerizing.
But what does he know about love? Is he gay? Is Oliver gay? Does any of this matter in the 1980’s?
Where the shorts are always short and the cafes are always cafe-y.
Call Me By Your Name is a film that is talked about so much due to three reasons, and all of them are guys. Chalamet carries this film despite his actual real life young age and has had an inedible year all around, also having parts in Lady Bird and Hostiles. He gives off this aura of insecurity and realness that makes it easy to love his performance.
Hammer, the co-lead but going for supporting actor nominations, is always an acting force, and his normal bravado in his roles still comes through with this one. His arrogance and superiority are extremely intentional given his characters age and experience compared to Chalamet and is no wonder he starts to swoon over him. Hell, everyone who watches this film will swoon over him.
And of course we have Greatest Small Role Actor Ever, Stuhlbarg, who the last few years has been in so many amazing roles with various screen times. He gives a wonderful speech near the end and just feels so wise throughout that he does a wonderful job.
The countryside is a good location, as are all the details about the time period. But if I am being honest, I don’t see what really sets this apart from any other forbidden romance type film. It is very well acted, it doesn’t rely on sex to sell it (Hammer notwithstanding), and yet I don’t think it needs the long run time. It drags in some areas early on for me and well, shit. I can acknowledge it is a good film, but certainly not one that I have fallen in love with, nor will it make my top of the year lists.
Every film can’t be for everyone, but this one is still pretty good with some fine acting samples.
3 out of 4.