Reel Shorts | Call Me By Your Name (Middleburg Film Festival)

by Monica Hayes

A young intelligent 17-year-old and an archaeology student go from strangers to secret lovers in the summer of 1983 in Northern Italy in Luca Guadagino’s Call Me By Your Name.

Its summer, 1983 in Northern Italy and Oliver (Armie Hammer) is set to be Professor Perlman’s (Michael Stuhlbarg) archeology assistant for the next 6 weeks. While he is studying, he is also staying in Perlman’s home with his wife and 17-year-old son Elio (Timothée Chalamet). Over the coming weeks, Oliver and Elio become close friends. They ride bikes through town and the countryside, they have midnight swims and play volleyball to name a few.

During this time Elio is secretly falling for Oliver, but he doesn’t think he feels the same as Oliver frequently dismisses his subtle advances. Elio tries to fight his feelings and begins a relationship with Marzia (Esther Garrel) a young girl from the village. However, this does not quell his longing for the older, distinguished Oliver. One day, during a bike ride Oliver reveals he feels the same feelings toward him and the two begin a secret love affair.

Chalamet gives a breakout performance as Elio. His ability to play such a complex character with so many feelings, thoughts and insecurities going on at the same time was spot on. Armie Hammer’s Oliver is not as complicated as complicated at Elio, but he is just as good. The chemistry between the two actors is well developed.

Call Me by Your Name is based on Andre Aciman’s novel. Director Luca Guadagino’s screen adaptation is beautiful and is brilliantly executed. The selections of where to shoot different scenes, whether the scene is a park, the lake or some fruit trees, the scenery seems to take on a character on its own and blends well with the movie.

Overall, Call Me by Your Name is beautifully filmed and an organically feel-good movie. It draws audiences into the film so well, that you become one with characters and the roller coaster of emotions from laughter, crying, joy, and sadness.

Grade B+