Call Me by Your Name

Call Me by Your Name ★★★★

Probably my favorite filmmaking of the year. The way Guadagnino and cinematographer Sayombhu Mukdeeprom use the camera creates a mood of playful curiosity that is as intoxicating as the movie's setting and beautiful bodies are.

My problem with the film should be a big one, because it's the very nature of the central relationship, but Chalamet is so astonishingly good - like impossibly amazingly good - that the conundrum of his relationship with Hammer's Oliver didn't really lose me.

I think Hammer is terrific in the early scenes. His arrogant aloofness, his easy-going even dorky hedonism felt to me like a particular kind of New England-prep-school-bred cockiness. But then I think the movie (and possibly the book the movie is based on) goes out of its way to make Chalamet's Elio the aggressor in the relationship, possibly as a means of making this adult-child relationship easier to accept. I would absolutely believe that apricot-juice-gulping Oliver would lust for the young Elio (as he is the platonic ideal of human beauty), but the emotional (and experience) gulf between them is so vast, that I never believed the relationship between the two. This gulf is exacerbated by the age difference between the actors (if not the characters). It's a tricky casting situation. You need Oliver to look noticeably older than Elio, but also be a believable 24-year-old. Hammer certainly looks older than Chalamet, but he does not look 24. He looks like the 30-year-old that he actually is. The right actor, playing a believable 24, would be playing a character at a much closer level of emotional maturity to Elio than Hammer can pull off.

The fact that the movie still works at all despite this significant bit of mis-casting is a great credit to Guadagnino and Chalamet.

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