This past Saturday, on December 23rd, I went to see the movie Call Me By Your Name, at The Paris Theatre on W 58th St.
My friends– new and long acquainted–and I had originally intended to go ice skating, but it rained and was cold all day on Saturday. So my newly acquainted friend recommended we go see this new movie at the theatre, and I am glad that we received this recommendation.
It is very rare to get me to go and see a romance film, a drama film, and even rom-coms. But I LOVE a good film. So, from time to time, I find myself only interested in watching the three aforementioned genres above, if I feel like the movie will be really good. After googling this movie, I knew it would be really good.
Since I was riding the New York subway and only receiving spots of information, this was all that I saw when I googled this film (thanks wikipedia):
It’s the summer of 1983, and precocious 17-year-old Elio Perlman is spending the days with his family at their 17th-century villa in Lombardy, Italy. He soon meets Oliver, a handsome doctoral student who’s working as an intern for Elio’s father. Amid the sun-drenched splendor of their surroundings, … MORE
and from that, I could tell it was a romance film about male lovers. Consciously, I knew that the only other film (not including t.v. shows) that I have seen which featured male lovers, was Brokeback Mountain. I thought that that film was a bit better than okay, mostly because I could not really get in to the tone / filter of the visuals. However, I do remember loving the intensity of the film and that two actors that I like to see on screen would be in it.
Needless to say, the intensity I imagined which would be in this film, made me want to go and see it. It also helped that Armie Hammer— my favorite actor and character from the film, The Man from U.N.C.L.E.– would be in it.
My thoughts on the film
The film was great. It was better, in terms of the visuals, dialogue, and intensity, than Brokeback was. It is set in Italy, in 1983 and Armie Hammer plays Oliver–the doctoral student working as an intern for the Italian professor, Mr. Pearlman. Timothée Chalamet plays Elio–Mr. Pearlman’s son and Oliver’s go-to-host. The unspoken dialogues within the film, between all of the characters spoke the loudest. The glances, the touches, the curiosity, the questioning– it was simply too amazing to explain. The acting was great by all of the characters, and I did remember feeling that the movie felt longer than it needed to be. It does give the vibe of a sexual exploration film by way of a coming of age story but not in a cliche way.
On my last point, I would like to note that the nuance in Elio’s sexual awakening was refreshing for a film in the theatre. At first, I was frustrated by his actions with Marzia, because it felt like he was using her for his own sexual gratification, when he already knew that he was in love with Oliver. I also was confused as to why this was the case, because it had seemed like his mother knew about the “friendship” or “fondness” Elio and Oliver had of each other. To not go on a rant, it was not clear to me that his family would be homophobic, I perceived them to be more open and accepting. Because society is not a big focus in the film, I am unsure whether or not Elio felt constrained by society’s expectations.
The only time I could think of, is the dance scene, where girls are envious of Oliver’s dance partner, and the guys were envious of Oliver–who was handsome and thus, could get anyone he wanted (supposedly). But the minor male characters in the film, are just that. Too minor to the point where expectations on Elio aren’t explicitly clear. So in short, Elio comes off as a bit of a fuccboi–especially early on.
I also disliked the ending of the film. It became revealed that Oliver was actually the biggest fuccboi of them all. I do not really want to reveal any spoilers in my posting, since I recommend you go and see the film. And when you do, come back with a comment and let me know what you thought about the film and if you agree with my take on the ending of the film.
This is just another minor point, but the physical age differences of Elio and Oliver threw me off. Elio, although the film made sure to state his age as 17, looks 15 in comparison to the 30 year old looking Oliver. Oliver’s age, is also never explicitly discussed. So I had to keep reminding myself that Elio, is of age.
I absolutely adored the speech given to Elio by his dad at the end of the film. It confirmed what I thought whilst watching the movie and also made me question the father a bit. Is Elio’s dad in a loveless marriage because he has never felt able to come out the closet? Or, is he simply putting things in perspective for Elio? You be the judge of his speech. ‘P’ is for Mr. Pearlman and ‘E’ is for Elio. (thank you papenkeuckelele for transcription):
P: So? Welcome home
P: Oliver enjoyed the trip?
E: [Y]eah, I think he did
P: You two had a nice friendship
P:you’re too smart not to know how rare… and special what you two had was.
E: [O]liver was [O]liver
P: [P]arce que c’était lui . Parce que c’etait moi.
E: Oliver made me very intelligent, but…
P: nonono, he was more than intelligent. What you two had… had everything and nothing to do with intelligence. He was good. You were both lucky to have found each other becaouse you two were good.
E: I think he was better than me. *sigh* I think he was better than me.
P: I’m sure he’d say the same things of you
E: Sure, he’d say the same thing.
P: It flatters you both. When you least expect it, nature has cunning ways of finding our weakest spots… just, remember i’m here. Right now you may not want to feel anything. Maybe you never wanted to feel anything and maybe it’s not to me you want to speak about these things, but feel something you obvi[o]usly did. look you had a beautiful freindship, maybe more than a friendship and I envy you. my place, most parents would hope the whole thing would go away away. pray their sons would land on their feet butI am not such a parent. We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster, that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty. and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to ma[k]e yourself feel nothing so as not to feel anything… what a waste. Have I spoken out of turn?
E: *heads no*
P: And [I] will say one more thing. It’ll clear the air. [I] may have come close, but i’ve never had what you two have. Something always held me back. Her.. .stood in the way. How you live your life is your business.. just, remember, our hearts and our bodies are given to us only once and before you know it, your heart is worn out and as for your body, there comes a point where no one looks at it, much less wants to come near it. Right now there is sorrow, pain .don’t kill it. and with it the joy you felt.
Elio: tears up* Does mom know?
P: I don’t think she does.