Call Me by Your Name

Call Me by Your Name ★★★★★

Call Me by Your Name is a gorgeously shot film that depicts a coming-of-age story of the type that is rarely ever shown on screen. The tender story of Elio and Oliver's gradual attraction and eventual romance is at times sweet, funny, joyous, and ultimately heartbreaking.

Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer have incredible chemistry and an easy rapport that makes the screen practically spark whenever they share a scene. While both of their performances are Oscar worthy, Chalamet in particular is a standout. He is able to convey the warring emotions in Elio's adolescent mind with subtle facial expressions and a quick glance. Chalamet also does an incredible job communicating Elio's intellect and interests to the audience. He deftly switches between speaking English, French, and Italian (sometimes in the same shot!), showing how languages come as easily to Elio as breathing. And anyone can pick up on Elio's love of music through Chalamet's body language while playing the piano; the slight pause to gather himself before diving into a song or the cocky way he crosses over his hands to embellish a piece speak volumes about his character. While the performance is not as showy as others this year, Chalamet easily deserves consideration in the Best Actor race.

Call Me By Your Name is a rare film that doesn't simply depict a location, but capture the tactile essence of the place, making the viewer feel like they are living through a lazy summer in northern Italy. The breathtaking cinematography uses a reliance on natural lighting to capture the sun-dappled orchard of the family's estate, with sunlight glinting off the water in the fountain and shadows wavering as wind blows through the trees. The film also uses brilliant editing to create the lazy, listless feel of summer; knowing exactly when to cut a shot in order to drag out the languorous feeling of a scene without making it feel bloated or ponderous. All of this adds up to a film that looks natural and effortless in its beauty and elegance.

While the film is breathtaking to look at, it would not have as profound an emotional impact if it wasn't for the precisely currated soundtrack of classical compositions, 80s pop, and Sufjan Stevens lovely original songs. A recurring use of the The Psychedelic Furs' Love My Way inspires as much joy in us as it does in Oliver as he dances in the Italian night. And Sufjan Stevens' soft vocals strike meloncholy into our very souls. Music is so integral to the characters' lives that the music chosen for the film needed to have a similar impact on the viewer, luckily every song feels like a perfect fit.

Finally, let's talk about that last shot. That masterful, devastating last shot. A beautiful long take keeps a shallow focus on Chalamet's face as the credits role and Sufjan plays. It keeps you glued to the screen until the very end. It might be the single most moving shot I have seen all year, and for that alone, Call Me By Your Name deserves your attention.

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