Serving up what could be considered this year’s first Oscar nominated performances and a touching narrative to glue it all together; Call Me by Your Name offers a unique perspective on a range of different life lessons.
Call Me by Your Name follows the story of a 17 year old boy named Elio (Timothée Chalamet) who meets a 24 year old man named Oliver (Armie Hammer) in his vacation home in Lombardi, Italy and a romance blossoms between them.
In this film we’re met with possibly the best duo performance of the year so far. The screenplay in this coming-of-age romance focuses on even the subtlest of emotional twitches, closely reflecting on the difficulty of a first love, and slowly taking the audience through the high points and low points one step at a time. This is a film not only about a character becoming true to himself, but experiencing the reality and confusion of attaining something that can’t be held onto forever. Call Me by Your Name attempts to somewhat normalize the relationship between a 17 year old boy and a 24 year old man, it manages to narrowly miss the zone of intense discomfort most moviegoers would experience from this aspect, specifically by focusing on the struggle of both of the characters emotions and not creating a predatory aspect akin to films like Lolita. There’s a lot to relate to in this story of a first love, much can be related back to one’s own experiences, and can be touching for those who have experienced similar scenarios.
While the film has a powerful narrative, the bulk of it was carried by Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer’s powerful performances; both actors portray their characters personality to such a degree that it feels as if we are peering into someone else’s real life and relationship. Hammer will likely receive a nomination for this role and Timothée has a possible chance as well.
The camera-work and use of color in this film was beyond what I’ve seen in many standard films in the same genre, a lot of delicate care and consideration has been put into each shot as well as much of the meaning behind them. I also noticed quite a unique approach to its camera-work throughout, staying fixed on a character for longer to see their full response to a conversation or interaction helped elevate the human emotion in almost every character. It’s production design was as careful and sharp as it’s camera-work, all containing even the tiniest of details and fantastic colours throughout the outfits and environments, even going as far as to have fly’s placed throughout a massively large portion of the film, yes fly’s. The soundtrack itself was soft with its classical piano playing at poetic moments, but oftentimes jarring when it would suddenly stop without warning to create an atmosphere.
This film is beautiful and certainly something to appreciate, but to say I enjoyed watching it is simply not accurate, there are explicit sequences here and while they are struggle to get through, they are rewarded with perhaps one of the best screenplays of the year.