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Harry Lister Smith
CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, the new film by Luca Guadagnino, is a sensual and transcendent tale of first love, based on the acclaimed novel by André Aciman. It's the summer of 1983 in the north of Italy, and Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet), a precocious 17- year-old American-Italian boy, spends his days in his family's 17th century villa transcribing and playing classical music, reading, and flirting with his friend Marzia (Esther Garrel). Elio enjoys a close relationship with his father (Michael Stuhlbarg), an eminent professor specializing in Greco-Roman culture, and his mother Annella (Amira Casar), a translator, who favor him with the fruits of high culture in a setting that overflows with natural delights. While Elio's sophistication and intellectual gifts suggest he is already a fully-fledged adult, there is much that yet remains innocent and unformed about him, particularly about matters of the heart. One day, Oliver (Armie Hammer), a charming American scholar working on his ... Written by
Sony Pictures Classics
Luca Guadagnino made quite an impression on me as a filmmaker with A Bigger Splash, a film that combined an engaging narrative with some fantastic performances. With his latest film, Call Me by Your Name, Guadagnino certainly has the potential to repeat the trick and deliver more of the same.
When Oliver (Armie Hammer), a graduate student, arrives to stay with the family of his professor in northern Italy, he meets Elio (Timothée Chalamet), his professor's son. What follows is a summer full of music, food and romance that will forever change their lives.
Rather impressively, Luca Guadagnino follows A Bigger Splash with just as an engaging film however, he shows a much softer hand when dealing with the sensual nature of a film such as Call Me by Your Name. It truly is a beautiful piece of cinema, Guadagnino's direction of the intimate coming-of-age narrative being a real triumph.
There's some genuinely fantastic dialogue included in the screenplay written by Guadagnino, James Ivory and Walter Fasano. The subtlety of the comedy is great but it's the poignancy of the words when relationships come into play that will stay with the audience, particularly a moment shared between Elio and his father towards the end of the film. It's silently powerful stuff.
Coming to the performances, Call Me by Your Name features two leads in Timothée Chalamet and Armie Hammer who share such a natural and fitting chemistry. It felt much like that shared between Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara in Carol, effortless and becoming much more impactful as a result. Chalamet in particular has a very bright future ahead of himself. There's also a fine performance from Michael Stuhlbarg as Elio's father to look out for, balancing the comedy and emotion expertly.
I expect people to make comparisons between Call Me by Your Name and Moonlight given the nature of their subject matter however, I'd rather not see people try and play them off against one another because they both deserve such high praise. Being in the company of such a film is a major achievement for a film like Call Me by Your Name.
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