A twist on summer love: Call Me By Your Name film review

(Sony Pictures Classics)

The 2017 film, “Call Me by Your Name” tells the summer love story between teenager Elio (Timothee Chalamet) and graduate student Oliver (Armie Hammer) in 1983. The movie is based on the book of the same name by Andre Aciman.

The film takes place in Elio’s summer home in northern Italy. Oliver is studying under Elio’s father. It is evident from the beginning that Elio is drawn to Oliver. He begins to question if the feeling is reciprocated, but is too shy to ask, which is a feeling many people who have a crush feel constantly.

This cat-and-mouse game between Elio and Oliver is very slow moving, which makes their interactions all the more exciting. The audience sits in suspense as their conversations get flirtier with every passing scene.

As the two travel the Italian countryside, the cinematography shines.

The clear blues of the oceans complemented the warm-toned houses and the endless miles of greenery. The characters all wear light colors in order to complete the summer tone. The film, to put it simply, is aesthetically pleasing. All the colors and sounds make the story far more realistic and captivating. It is by far my favorite aspect of the film.

Director Luis Guadagnino wanted the music to tell the story from the perspective of older Elio. It is mostly filled with piano compositions, which change and alter with the tone of the film. Elio is a talented pianist, so the instrument fits with the narrative Guadagnino wanted.

It also stays true to its location by including bits of Italian, which Elio speaks. He acts as a translator for Oliver. There are also bits of French spoken due to Elio’s permanent residence in France.

Upon Oliver’s arrival, many of Elio’s friends are enchanted by his good looks and charming personality. This makes Elio jealous and far more secretive about his feelings because he has reason to believe Oliver does not feel the same. However, Oliver finds any and every excuse to get to know Elio. 

Then there is the forbidden love plot, which is both unique and realistic. The ’80s were a complicated time to be in a gay relationship. For the most part, it was frowned upon. I forgot about this factor while watching the movie because I was mainly focused on how authentic and passionate their relationship was. You can’t help but fall in love with the couple.

Chalamet and Hammer did a mesmerizing job of bringing these characters to life. The layers of human emotion, paired with a confusing summer romance, is something many people can relate to. 

Overall, the movie is heartbreaking, funny and enchanting. For those who want their hearts filled, then broken, “Call Me by Your Name” leaves you desperate for more. 

Grade: A – “Call Me By Your Name” makes you believe in love.