This is a movie that I wish I could live in. And Mr. Guadagnino does a fantastic job at vicariously placing you within the film already through how sensual and real life it feels. That’s the most incredible piece of this movie – being able to feel the sun warm the backs of your arms, the sweat developing between your back and the weirdly uncomfortable lawn chair, the smell of an old paperback lying open on the arm, and the sweet nectar of an apricot squirting into and out of your mouth. It’s an environment that feels almost palpable and rarely does settings feel this much as if they are a character. And the organic nature happens to carry through in the camerawork, oftentimes being voyeuristic as you peer into these lives, and the character interactions and decisions.
People feel real, although the dialogue may lack a little bit, and really, the impeccable acting by Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer makes the rest of the cast more than outweigh that gripe. And the use of symbolism throughout this film felt wholly unique (at least to me – I haven’t seen some used in this way ever). The aesthetic qualities of this movie are no doubt astounding and are what truly make this film special, but there were a few pieces to the story that held it back from being something that I completely loved.
It won’t really spoil the story, but you can already picture how the film will run if I say that it’s a gay/lesbian film. Doubt, “clandestine” sexual meetings, spilling the beans, I mean it’s all here. Every sort of experience with coming out and becoming who you want to be is different, so I can’t help but question why so many films end up having the same framework as Blue is the Warmest Color. I felt the transition from the first half to the second was a little jarring and out of left field. They had hinted at something bubbling, and maybe some were too subtle for me to catch, and I knew it was coming eventually, but it really took me by surprise because I wasn’t expecting it at the time it came.
My last gripe is with the father’s monologue at the end where he’s telling Chalamet’s character about acceptance and whatnot, but my oh my, it honestly would have felt more natural if the father broke the fourth wall and just started talking directly to the audience. It became waaaay too obvious very quickly that the message was meant for everyone in the audience to hear, not just his character. Disguising this better or thinking of a better way to implement the ideas, because they weren’t necessarily things I disagreed with, could have given this film a very uplifting ending.
Drama, Romance | Italy, 2017 | 15 | 5th March 2018 (UK) |Sony Pictures At Home |Dir.Luca Guadagnino | Timothée Chamalet, Armie Hammer, Michael Stuhlbarg | Buy:[Blu-ray]
Snapshots of Italy: Making of Call me by Your Name
Conversation with Luca Guadagnino, Armie Hammer, Timothee Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg
Commentary with Timothee Chalamet and Michael Stuhlbarg
“Mystery of Love” by Sufjan Stevens