MOVIE REVIEW: Call me by your Name

Drama starring Armie Hammer.  An American Archaeologist travels to Italy in the summer of 1983 to study with a noted Professor, he is welcomed into the Professor’s house and family, and quickly has a unsteady relationship with the Son Elio.  During the stay in the house their relationship changes, at first Elio is not sure if he likes the free will of Armie, but soon their sexual tension spills over.

This story, set in the beautiful surroundings of the Italian countryside, during the summer of 1983 which I remember, being all of the mature eight years old, but the music was amazing.  Now I probably sound like an old fart who remembers when the music was good.  But I have to admit that as much as I have big problems with this film, the soundtrack music that is from the 80’s, plus the beautiful original music that accompanies the production is not a problem for me.

Where I found fault with this film is solely down to the screenplay.  It felt as though the dialogue is forced a lot of the time, a more gentle hand at the typewriter, along with some actual charm would have gone a long way.  The story of a 17 year old who starts to develop feelings for an older student of his Father should have been a torrent of emotional hardship.  Setting it back in the 80’s gives that homosexual relationship a little more bite, but that’s not really conveyed enough to give us a dramatic stance, believe me that back in the 80’s there were very few non homosexual’s that would be as understanding as all the people in Italy during that time are portrayed to be here.

There are moments that you forget that the rest of the film are leaving you cold.  Elio’s conversation with his father towards the end of the film just bursts through and if the rest of the film was written as well as this one moment then you’d be looking at a five out of five.  The beautiful Italian countryside almost becomes a character in the film, it’s shot wonderfully and would encourage me to find that setting and go there.

The true stand out performance for me is Elio, played by Timothee Chalamet, who just shows a talent that goes far beyond his tender years.  The confusing sexual feelings that he conveys between his girlfriend and Oliver show a true talent emerging.  In fact a lot of his dialogue and script appearances are those moments that elevated the film.

If every scene was written with the love and devotion of the scene between Elio and his Father, subtly and lovingly played by Michael Stuhlberg, then this really would have been a film of the year.  For me it’s amazing scenery, really beautifully shot, and a great soundtrack with a story that leaves you feeling that they could have taken things further.  There is nothing worse than the right ingredients being wasted.

Call me by your Name could have been, and that is the worst thing I can say about a film, it could have been amazing, but just left me feeling that I would never get that time back again.  You don’t want the audience to feel that their time has been misspent, never mind the cash it costs to go see the film in the first place.  Average for this cast, and high production, plus good soundtrack is, I’m sorry, not good enough.

Director: Luca Guadagnino
Writers: James Ivory (screenplay), Andre Aciman (based on the novel by) (as André Aciman)
Stars: Armie HammerTimothée ChalametMichael Stuhlbarg & more.. See full cast & crew

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