Call Me by Your Name is not a simple story to describe. The new film by Luca Guadagnino is exceptional for the way in which it transforms literature into pure cinema, all emotion and image and intoxicating experience, based on André Aciman’s 2007 novel about a precocious 17-year-old who falls in lust and love with his father’s 24-year-old graduate student.
Then, Call Me by Your Name may be considered an erotic film, which it most certainly is. However, I use the phrase in a larger sense than is common now, including not only sexual activity but also love, which is far more expansive and terrifying.
Eros refers to an irrational heart fire that may be both a source of pain and a gateway to something more permanent and fulfilling. Love, though, might feel like you’re falling over a cliff when you’re in the midst of it.
As far as movies go, I can’t think of one that does a better job of depicting the insanity and hyperawareness that comes from being obsessed with something. It’s also hard for me to think of another film that so effectively uses the five senses to make viewers feel what’s going on onscreen.
A coming-of-age story, rather than one about coming out, is undeniably a gay love story. Watching Call Me by Your Name is like taking a deep breath of fresh air and feeling a rush of excitement spread through your entire being.
Call Me by Your Name Drips with Desire as It Spins a Story of First Love
Call Me by Your Name, Starring Timothée Chalamet as Elio, Takes Place “somewhere in Northern Italy” in The Summer of 1983 and Extends Its Focus on His Life for A Full Six Weeks at That Time.
Elio, Cocky and Preternaturally Sophisticated Despite Still Carrying a Whiff of The Insecure Teenager, Joins His Doting, Unconventional Parents (Michael Stuhlbarg and Amira Casar) at Their Cozy Ramshackle Italian Villa as They Prepare to Welcome Their Annual Guest, the Latest in A Series of Graduate Students Who Spend the Summer Working with Elio’s Father, a Classics Professor.
This Summer, that Student Is the Gorgeous and Self-Assured Oliver (Armie Hammer), Who Has an Imposing Presence: He Fills the Room with His Presence, Whether He’s Playing Volleyball in A Pickup Game, Drinking at A Neighborhood Watering Hole, or Dancing with A Large Group of People in The Town Square.
A Man of Insatiable Hunger only Infrequently Restrained by A Mask of Gentility, Oliver Plunges Into Everything While Elio Attempts a Calculated Aloofness, Breaking One Soft-Boiled Egg at Breakfast the First Morning and Then Downing Another While Whispering His Approval.
yet Another, He Declines: I’m familiar with Myself, He Says. You’ll Have to Roll Me out Of Here if I Have a Second One Since I’m Planning on Having a Third and a Fourth if I Do.
Elio Watches in Awe, Repulsed and Attracted by Oliver as He Storms out Of Rooms Shouting, “later!” Elio’s Shy Mischief Stands in Stark Contrast to Oliver’s Brazen American Assurance. Two Things Could Hardly Be More Dissimilar from One Another.
Hammer and Chalamet Have Great Chemistry on Screen, and Their Acting Sells the Connection Well. (both Performers, Together with Stuhlbarg in A Pivotal but Brief Scene, Deliver Career-Defining Performances.)
They Have Chemistry, but It Takes Time to Build Because Elio Is Seeing a French Exchange Student Named Marzia (Esther Garrel) for The Summer. Their Relationship Begins on A Hostile Note, with Elio Attempting to Deal with His Own Internal Turmoil by Acting Distant and Coy Toward Oliver While Also Teasing Him.
They Start out As Strangers but End up Become Pals. One Night, Though, His Mother Reads from A French Novel from The 16th Century in Which a Knight Who Has Built a Bond with The Princess Asks, “Is It Better to Talk or To Die?” and Now Elio Feels Compelled to Say Something.
Even Though We Know (and so Do Oliver and Elio and Elio’s Parents) that This Can’t Last Forever, Guadagnino’s Ability to Capture the Flame Allows Us to Sense Elio’s Desire And, by Extension, His Heartbreak.
A Live Fish Someone Has Caught in The River, Pages Flapping in The Hot Breeze, Water Pouring from A Tap Into a Stone Pool, a Table Set for Breakfast, the Smoldering Stub of A Cigarette—it All Seems to Drip with Longing. And, of course, Gorgeous Youthful Bodies that Appear to Be Exposed to The Sweltering Italian Heat.
Through This and His Other Films, Such as A Bigger Splash and I Am Love, Guadagnino Creates a Cinematic World that Is Both Smaller And Larger than The Characters He Depicts.
(It’s No Coincidence that A Short but Incisive Passage from Heraclitus’s the Cosmic Fragments—philosophical Writings that Address Issues Affecting All Living Things, Not Just Humans—makes an Appearance.)
with A Score that Blends Genres so Seamlessly (including, Most Notably, “hallelujah Junction” by John Adams, “Love My Way” by The Psychedelic Furs, and Two Original Songs by Sufjan Stevens), the Film Sparkles and Pops as If Viewed in 4 D. I Can’t Get Enough of It.
It’s also Blatantly Edenic in That It Captures a Paradise that Will Inevitably Be Lost. However, in The Meantime, the Paradise Is Ripe with Heavy Delight and Fullness, and Its Impending Loss Just Seems to Heighten This.
Paradise Is Lost in A Bigger Splash when Jealousy Enters the Picture, Whereas in Call Me by Your Name, Elio and Oliver’s Separation Is More Straightforward and Unavoidable Due to Their Ages, Backgrounds, and Social Standings.
What Happened at The End of Call Me by Your Name?
Naturally, Oliver Has to Leave. as The Film Draws To A Close, We See Elio Sobbing in Front of A Fireplace. on The Other Hand, Aciman’s Work Features an Entire Chapter that Takes Place 15 Years After that Summer.
Elio Pays a Visit to Oliver at His Home and Workplace in A University Town in The United States. Oliver Is a Married Father of Two by That Time.
Although Elio and Oliver Are Separated by An Ocean and Decades in Age, They Are Otherwise Inseparable. when Oliver and Elio Are Together, It’s as If They’ve Taken a U-Turn and Are Back on The Proper Route, the Correct Life, Rather than The Previous, Less Fulfilling One.
“It Would Finally Hit Us Both that He Was More Me than I Had Ever Been Myself, Because when He Became Me and I Became Him in Bed so Many Years Ago, He Was and Would Forever Remain, Long After Every Forked Road in Life Had Done Its Work, My Brother, My Friend, My Father, My Son, My Husband, My Lover, Myself,” Elio says.
The Book Concludes With Their Reunion at The Italian Villa Five Years Later. Elio’s Dad Has Passed Away. Those Involved Engage in Reminiscence. in Conclusion.
Fortunately, This Final Sentence Is Rewritten in Find Me. the Novel Takes Place Before Samuel’s Death and Rewrites the Events Leading up To the Meeting of Elio and Oliver in Italy.
Come On! What Happens in Find Me?
Get Ready to Hear What We Have to Say. a Word of Caution, Though: If The Eight-Year Age Difference Between Elio and Oliver in Cmbyn Turned You Off, the Find Me Novel Might Not Be for You. Each and Every Couple in Find Me Has a Large Age Difference. in Fact, the “most Typical” Couple Is Elio and Oliver, Who Are Now in Their 30s and 40s.
In the First Part, Samuel, Elio’s Father, Had the Same Kind of Great Love that His Son Did When He Was 17 Years Old. Aciman’s World Is One in Which the Capacity for Intense Emotion Is Viewed as A Blessing that Bestows Vibrancy and Significance upon Existence. Sam Is Reinstated to The Teenager Cast.
Sam and His Wife Found out Years Ago that Their Son Elio Was the Glue that Kept Them Together. Their Paths in Life Were No Longer Parallel. the Result Was a Divorce. She Just Remarried and Moved to The Northern Italian Region of Milan.
He Currently Resides in Florence but Is Making a Trip to Rome for A Lecture Due to His Continued Fixation on Ancient Greek History.
Sam Chooses to Have Lunch with A Young Photographer Called Miranda, Setting in Motion a Roller Coaster Ride of Feelings for Both of Them. Initially, Elio Just Appears for A Few Lines. He Has Maintained a Very Tight Relationship with His Father.
Now We Get to Elio! Elio Is Currently Based out Of Paris, Where He Performs Professionally as A Musician. Michel, a Wealthy Older Man, Is Someone He Meets at A Performance; Internet Courtship Has No Place in An Aciman Story Because the Most Meaningful Events in A Character’s Life Happen on The Spur of The Moment.
In Cadenza, We Get a Glimpse at Elio’s Dating Life Over the Preceding Twenty Years. He Is Unable to Fully Commit to Any Relationship.
There’s also a classical music-related mystery, for a spice
After a Year of Fellowship Work in New York, Oliver and His Wife Micol Will Be Relocating to The Remote University. but Not Before Throwing a Farewell Bash for Their Friends and Family. to Micol’s Consternation, Oliver Has Invited Two Much Younger Friends to The Party: His Yoga Classmate Erica and His College Roommate Paul.
The Remainder of The Night He Spends Daydreaming About a Potential Love Triangle. the Math of Romance Is Not Lost on Him. I’m Confused by The Hand Gestures. Really, how About that Look? to What Total Do You Attribute This?
The 44-Year-Old Oliver Realizes that He Has Been Living a “dead Man’s Existence” for The Previous Two Decades and Decides He Must Locate Elio. when The Time Was Right, All Oliver Had to Do Was Come and Find Me, Regardless of Where We Were, Who We Were With, or What Stood in Our Way, as Elio Later Explains of Oliver’s Decision.