By William Curzon (UK)
Set during a summer in 1980’s Northern Italy. Elio Perlman (Timothee Chalamet) a 17-year-old who spends his days in his family’s 17th century villa transcribing music, reading and flirting with his friend Marzia (Esther Garrel). One day, Oliver (Armie Hammer), a 24-year-old American college graduate student. Arrives as the annual summer intern tasked with helping Elio’s father (Michael Stuhlbarg). Although initially irritated by Oliver’s presence. Elio soon forms a connection with Oliver and they both soon discover the heady beauty of awakening that will change their lives forever.
First of all James Ivory’s script is spectacular. It’s wonderfully adapted from Andre Aciman’s novel and really captures the sensual feeling and setting of the story. From the opening credits I was simply transfixed and it hooked me in to the story instantly. I immediately became interested and wanted to learn more about the characters and setting which is due to the excellent script.
Timothee Chalamet is incredible. This is his breakout performance and his first major lead role in a film and he does not disappoint. You can almost tell what he is thinking just from his facial expressions, he doesn’t even have to open his mouth and he conveys so much emotion. His character in the story is discovering things about himself and trying to come to terms with these things. He gives such an emotionally resonant performance and it grew on me throughout the film.
Armie Hammer Portrays Oliver. It’s a great performance. He is so entertaining to watch because of his mannerisms, and the quotable lines he delivers throughout the film which made me laugh out loud in some scenes. He again also conveys a lot of emotion without even opening his mouth. His character is also trying to come to terms with things which makes his character vulnerable in some parts of the film. The chemistry between Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet is also mesmerising to watch on screen.
The rest of the supporting cast were equally amazing. Michael Stuhlbarg portrays Elio’s Father. Who is absolutely phenomenal in this film. He is a very open Father to Elio and he is also very intelligent. Towards the end of the film he gives a powerful monologue about acceptance to Elio which almost brought me to tears. Unfortunately his performance will be sadly overlooked due to the main two actors. Also Elio’s Mother Annella (Amira Caser) and his friend Marzia (Esher Garrel) were also great additions to the supporting cast.
With this film being a smaller independent production it’s hard to know what to expect from the production design. Thankfully it’s excellent. The 17th century villa and the sculptures all around the house are glorious to look at. There’s a timeless quality to this story and to the film overall which is marvellous. That is a very rare feat for any film to achieve.
The music in this film is truly incredible. Sufjan Stevens wrote two original songs for this film. Mystery of Love and Visions of Gideon. He also included his previously written song Futile Devices but with a (Doveman Remix) this time. As all three songs played over the film I got goosebumps because of the affect and emotion it added to the film, it was extraordinary. The lyrics for each song are wonderful and perfectly fit the theme and purpose of the story. Also the already produced music used in the film was perfectly selected by music supervisor Robin Urdang.
Luca Guadagnino’s direction is truly splendid. The way in which he captured the source material and the sensual setting of the environment is fantastic. There is a scene in particular where the camera slowly follows the main two characters moving around a statue and it was just breathtaking to look at. This film is truly a work of art and is a shining example of filmmaking at its absolute finest. I have decided it’s his best film yet although he hasn’t directed much, this should hopefully get him much more exposure as a director.
Call Me by Your Name is truly a breathtaking piece of cinema. The performances from all the actors especially the main two are outstanding. The music is beautiful and heartbreaking. The chemistry between Armie Hammer and Timothee Chalamet is fantastic. The films message of acceptance is so powerful and relevant to our time. Every single frame of this film has stuck with me ever since the credits rolled and I will never forget it.