Call Me by Your Name

Call Me by Your Name ★★½

This is sub-mediocre cinema for the pretentious mass of moviegoers. For one thing, it was way too long, at least a half hour more than necessary. Too many wasted, extended shots that did nothing to advance the paper-thin narrative of Vulnerable Younger Man Elio falls for Manipulative Young Man Oliver, involving themselves in a six-week summer fling with full parental approval. Oliver has his peach and eats it too, then moves back to the United States to proceed with his pre-planned heterosexual lifestyle. Elio is then left to pine and yearn and mourn with a beautiful sad-face through the closing credits. Two hours and ten minutes for this? No thank you, sirs.

About the performances: Armie Hammer is a truly beautiful physical specimen of a man, but in this film that is the full extent of his acting ability. Preening, with an exaggerated sense of dismissive cool, his portrayal of Oliver left the sense of an actor trying too hard to pretend that he was comfortable in the role. This sense is re-inforced in the promotional interviews for the film, where he seems to be working just a bit too hard to show how cool he was with kissing and simulating sex with another beautiful young(er) man. The utter sterility of the sex scenes or the lack of explicit nudity, however, as dictated by Hammer's contract, belie his overcompensating demeanor. Understandable, perhaps, but this kills the credibility of any emotional chemistry beyond the two men on- screen. Not a good film, not even an interesting one.