Call Me by Your Name

Call Me by Your Name ★★★½

When comparing this to his past work about rich people lounging around in exotic European locales, Guadagnino remarked that, unlike those last two pictures, Call Me By Your Name is less anxious or contaminated with dread. It is passionate desire between two people fulfilled without foreign interference. There is no antagonist. There is really nothing in the way other than the stages that are typical of any romance - overcoming the hump where you're both aware that the other wants the other, and then the inevitable sorrow that arrives when the relationship ends.

I honestly didn't capital-L love this movie while watching it, as its point-of-view is from a character who seemingly has every single thing he could want. Timothee Chalamet gives a captivating performance, for sure, but he is so cocksure and standoff-ish at first that it's not until he's actually confronted with what he had after he's lost that I really fell in line with how he was feeling. Feelings beyond lust, of course. Those are immediately understandable from the moment Armie Hammer pops on screen.

If this film has one massive accomplishment, it's the provocative performance it pulls out of Hammer and the way it transforms his Oliver into one of cinema's all-time most alluring figures. Call My By Your Name was always at its most electrifying whenever Oliver appeared, be it briefly in the background, or right up close as he dances to "Love My Way" in a manner that makes Ralph Fiennes' swagger and dance in A Bigger Splash look stiff. And he appears a lot, obviously. And everybody in this film wants a piece of him, the attraction is unmistakable simply from the way he chooses to tuck his sunglasses in his opened, blue shirt. The dude is sex personified on screen.

I don't know how to include Michael Stuhlbarg in this review without shoehorning him in and saying he is so great as the supportive, caring father, and his monologue at the end was the most touching part of the movie.

I do think in the end that I wanted to like this more than I did, and I probably enjoy it hindsight more than I did while I was actually watching it. It's kind of the inverse/reverse Before Sunset. In Linklater's movies, people fall in love through conservation. Whereas in Guadagnino movies, people fall in love through glances and touches. More than the Before movies though, this reminded me an awful lot of Y tu Mama Tambien, which was also a movie about teenagers on vacation falling in love with someone older than them. That was also a movie that I wanted to like a lot more than I really did. Hmm. Still super good, a thought I got to relay personally to the director after the show because I passed him on the street (too nervous to ask a question at the Q&A, I'll settle for harassing him afterwards).

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