Elle Driver’s review published on Letterboxd:
I would like to start off this entry by acknowledging this was easily one of my most anticipated films of the year. I had a ridiculous level of hype for this beginning around January. I decided to privately message Armie Hammer around this time and we began building a keenship to one another. We spoke about the controversy surrounding the film and all types of things. Soon after he even invited me to have lunch with him and his wife at their bakery in San Antonio. I went and it was one of the coolest things to ever happen to me honestly. We talked for about a solid hour (or more) and it was weird being right there eating/chatting with him. We talked about many things including this film. He was funny and warm and just an overall sweet guy. My moniker given to me by him was "buddy" and eventually we ended it all with a warm hug. (He also posted our selfie and wrote me a handwritten note). As you can imagine at this point I was starstruck. Completely in love with Hammer and ready to support him fully. I remember the day the trailer for this film finally released and crying watching it. I don't think I had ever been as enriched with a film and those involved like I was with Call Me By Your Name. I persistently defended the film and was branded alongside many others a "CMBYN Warrior". I even started to watch some of Guadagnino's previous films (I Am Love, A Bigger Splash) to ease my excitement for this film. To my dismay, this excitement was sidelined by the behavior of the two main cast members Timothée and Armie. It was unfortunate that my excitement dropped due to their actions but in my opinion morality is important. I no longer support Armie and we planned on seeing each other again but I don't see that happening. It makes no sense on my behalf to protest films like Ghost In The Shell and be a hypocrite and act like these two have done nothing wrong. Maybe one day they'll wake up and realize they were wrong and that their diehard fans (people who looked up to them) deserved better, but the odds of that are unlikely. With all this being said, I finally watched Call Me By Your Name and oh do I have a lot to say.
First, as always I like to begin dissecting the technicalities of a film. Technically speaking, Call Me By Your Name is an actual marvel to behold. The visuals are absolutely stunning. In moments where the warm sun cascades characters skin or in moments of complete darkness as body's touch one another - Call Me By Your Name consistently exudes visual mastery. The gorgeous scenery of Italy truly helps make this film a one of a kind visual experience. Sonically, Call Me By Your Name is a treat to the ears. Offering cuts that range from emotive pieces of baroque to dance floor ready tunes - Call Me By Your Name can give you a heartache or it can make you feel a bit of "disco fever". Sufjan Stevens (who I honestly believe is the best male artist ever) adds three songs to the mix two of which command what are two of the most tantalizing scenes in the film. Luca Guadagnino who I firmly believe is a pretty amazing director directs this film to a notch. In certain scenes characters are out of focus, only focusing in on one character and blurring the rest. Its in little things like this where Luca's stylistic form shines and feels so effervescent.
The performances. The performances in this film are literally some of the best of the entire year. From across the board every cast member adds something to the film. Armie Hammer is amazing and finally truly shows what he's capable of onscreen. Amira Casar gives what is one of my favorite performances of the year. She doesn't have too many scenes but every scene she's in she captivates and enthralls. Michael Stuhlbarg blows it out of the water here. Every single scene Michael Stuhlbarg is in he delivers his lines with ease and so much precision, his mannerisms are done to perfection as well. Michael Stuhlbarg's monologue close to the end of the film was so powerful my face became drowned in tears. But the nucleus of Guadagnino's coming of age drama is none other than Timothée Chalamet. Timothée shows what he's made of and he delivers what is one of the most complex and emotionally jarring performances of the year. He embodies this young man so well - nervous, uncertain, curious, hopeful, secretive, and charming. Timothée is absolutely powerful, there are moments where his performance genuinely overwhelms. I wouldn't be upset if Timothée won best actor for this performance, you gotta give credit where it's due and this performance is absolutely perfect in every way. Watching these characters interact, and witnessing their world's collide (especially that of Elio and Oliver's) is truly an experience.
I firmly believe 2017 is the year of catharsis in cinema. There's something so cathartic about many films released this year and that theme returns in Call Me By Your Name. I could relate to many scenes in Call Me By Your Name and many took me back to moments in my life I will never forget. Reminiscing to my first time having sex, to my first heartbreak, to having "the talk" with my parents, to youth, to growing up. Watching this character going on this journey made me feel and recollect all of these moments; For a film to be this powerful in itself says a lot.
There's a moment in Call Me By Your Name that I believe is the defining moment of this film. This moment is the Mystery Of Love scene. The film itself continued to throw punches at me but this scene in particular completely bewildered me. There's something so elegant and entrancing as our two protagonists explore these mountains together. Vast fields, yellowish greens, a roaring waterfall, their whimsical shouts - it's a moment of innocence and joy. All their sexual intensity and exploration building to this point, this point of innocent love. There's no pressure and no obligation to anyone, it's only Elio and Oliver. In that moment the two felt as though they were one, their love was unstoppable. As Oliver gazes off at the mountains soaking in this moment, it all felt so pure. This was the scene that embodied the DNA of Luca Guadagnino's cinematic revelation. Call Me By Your Name is about many things, but most importantly it's about discovery.
I'm not entirely sure if this is the best way to go about talking about this film, but for now this is what I've got. I'm truly thankful this film exists. Although it broke my heart and brought pain to my chest it was a film I needed to see. A film that breathes magnetism and bleeds warmth and youth. Call Me By Your Name (much like Brokeback Mountain) isn't just a gay movie. This is a tale that shows the beauty of love, youth, and discovery. Luca Guadagnino's near perfect entrancing cinematic triumph is a bold testament to the power of cinema.