Italy/France/Brazil, 2017, English, Italian, French, German w/ English subtitles
Principal Cast: Armie Hammer, Timothée Chalamet, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar
Adapted from Andre Aciman’s 2007 novel of the same name, director Luca Guadagnino (A Bigger Splash, I am Love) drenches us with the golden heat of a Northern Italian summer in his new sensual masterpiece, Call Me by Your Name.
It’s 1983, and 17-year-old music prodigy Elio (Timothée Chalamet) whiles his time away by the pool in a beautiful vacation villa along with his Greco-Roman professor father (Michael Stuhlbarg, Arrival; Trumbo) and French mother (Amira Casar), while the family reads German poetry to each other. Each year, the family welcomes an academic assistant for six weeks and this year’s guest is the broad-shouldered, cocky Oliver (Armie Hammer, Free Fire; The Social Network), who could easily stand on his own among the Greek statues he studies. At first ambivalent to each other, it’s not long before the mutual attraction between the wiry, hot-blooded adolescent and the Adonis in tiny shorts simmers beyond the bathroom they share.
This time around, Guadagnino eschews his usual splashy filmmaking with a less hurried pace and understated storytelling, at the same time offering ripe, glowing visual details to amplify and fill in the subtext. Ultimately, the director and his cast have crafted a movie that transcends its same-sex central story to tell a universal coming-of-age story. Reflecting on human nature, family, and first love, Call Me by Your Name joins the likes of Brokeback Mountain, Carol, and Moonlight in the essential queer cinema canon.