Call Me By Your Name was included in the 2017 Adelaide Film Festival – I didn’t select it as one of the five movies that I saw. I was getting more and more intrigued when many critics included the movie as one of the best in 2017. So, I watched it.
It’s a story of Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet), who lives in a small town in Italy with his parents. Then one summer, his Dad, Sammy Perlman (Michael Stuhlbarg) – an archaeology professor, invites his graduate student to spend six weeks with the family, to do some work together. At first, Elio considers Oliver (Armie Hammer) to be quite arrogant, and slowly becomes enamoured by him. In the process, he finds that succumbing to one’s feelings is sometimes the harder path to take. In this coming of age story, the memorable quote by Alfred Lord Tennyson comes alive, “‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
Call Me By Your Name is based on a novel by André Aciman. If you have seen Merchant Ivory productions before, like A Room with a View or Remains of the Day, you will notice a connecting thread in the style of the movies. It’s like being reacquainted with a long lost friend. I didn’t realise that James Ivory was one of the producers of Call Me By Your Name along with the director, Luca Guadagnino. There is the same leisure pace with idyllic countryside scenes, with a touch of nostalgia. Sufjan Stevens‘ music also complements the movie a lot – and dare I say, adds to the charm of the story. Timothee Chalamet is great as a confused and yet self-sure young man – full of bravado and yet scared of being vulnerable. Armie Hammer is also perfectly cast as Oliver – and there is a certain chemistry between him and Chalamet in the movie.
This movie stays with me for a long while the credit is shown at the end. It’s poignant and elegiac. At the heart of the story is our vulnerability when we open ourselves for love. When we dare to venture out of our cocoon, and see. The experience will certainly teach us a thing or two, but there’s no guarantee that we will get what we want.