Call Me by Your Name is the 2017 theatrical production of the novel by André Aciman. Directed by Luca Guadagnino and brought to life by James Ivory’s quietly intense screenplay, the film stars Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet, Amira Casar, Esther Garrel, and Michael Stuhlbarg. The tale strolls leisurely through the summer of 1983 in Northern Italy, where Elio Perlman develops a relationship with his father’s intern, Oliver.
Elio, a self-possessed youth of seventeen, who studies music with an air of severity, has little patience for the American’s impolite mannerisms. Oliver, with his infectious energy and well-timed dismissiveness, provokes Elio. His annoyance with Oliver eventually gives way to curiosity, and then obsession.
The sensual undercurrent of the film is explorative, transcendent, even sexually competitive—but, also, sensitive. The dialogue trips occasionally over erudite academia, but otherwise feels organic, weaving beautifully between French, German, English as well as Italian. The score is thoughtful and well-timed, allowing the viewer to resonate with long silences, or the gentle tittering of the landscape.
Guadagnino’s direction on physicality—that is, how the actors create shapes within the frame—is also notable. It becomes a character itself, pulling the viewer in to puzzle out this silent poetry like one might choreography. Water and fruit, thirst and hunger, are viscerally transposed. And as each character unravels, you like them better for it.
Call Me by Your Name is a joy to watch. It is a poignant and relatable coming of age romance. I’ll be keeping an eye out for more from Timothée Chalamet (Interstellar, Lady Bird, Hostiles). His performance here is a delightful surprise.
Have you see it? What did you think? Does it deserve any Oscar buzz? Let me know your thoughts!