Let me start this off by saying I haven’t written a film review since school forced me to at 14 – it was awful then and still will be now. This is probably going to be really ramble-y and useless but OMG I LOVE this film so so much. Like SO SO much! It deserves all the capital letters. It’s my new favourite film ever and now I’m going to attempt (very unprofessionally) to explain why.
Call Me By Your Name
Directed by: Luca Guadagnino
Screenplay by: James Ivory
Cast: Timothée Chalamet (Elio), Armie Hammer (Oliver), Michael Stuhlbarg (Samuel), Amira Casar (Anella)
Soundtrack: Sufjan Stevens
Adapted from: Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman
Plot: Set in Northern Italy in 1983, Call Me by Your Name chronicles the romantic relationship between Elio Perlman, a 17-year-old living in Italy, and his father’s American assistant, Oliver. (Wikipedia)
The music. I never used to think much about the music in a film, and whether that’s changed because of my age or my film taste or my music GCSE, it is now a solid 40% of what makes me love a film. Every aspect of this film is gorgeous but I think the music somehow encapsulates the beauty whilst also being a huge part of it. My favourites on the soundtrack are the songs from Sufjan Stevens (written especially for the film). They are some of the most wonderful songs in the world and listening to them transports me to the exact moment in the film when it was played – alllll of the emotions come rushing back. These songs warm and break my heart at exactly the same time.
The setting. The film is set in Northern Italy and was filmed in Crema and the nearby villages of Pandino and Moscazzano. They are magnificent. The small town, the gorgeous countryside and the lakes! I am incredibly envious of the actors that got to visit these places.
The languages. French and Italian may be two of the loveliest languages in the world. Listening to the actors speak is as pleasant and melodic as listening to the music and really adds to the idyllic setting and calm atmosphere of the film.
The cinematography. There is a particular scene in my mind when I write this. I don’t know anything about media or film-making but I do know that, as an avid film watcher, it is very rare to sit and watch a scene with not-a-whole-lot going on, and still be completely absorbed. I’m not sure if that makes much sense, but it’s really hard to put it into words – I feel like if you watch it, you’ll know what I mean. Like absolutely anything could be happening in the film, yet the visuals on your screen are mesmerising and you can’t draw your eyes away.
The sound effects. I’m sure there is a much more film-appropriate way to say that but hey. I really appreciated how we got to hear the birds chirping, the gentle breezes, the light breathing and the wet feet smacking against the stone floor in such an authentic way. I don’t know why I noticed it but it made me the film feel all the more real and personal.
Elio and Oliver – I always find that with independent films, it’s much easier to understand the plot when the film is over and you have absorbed everything. When there isn’t much dialogue or action, it’s more difficult to fully understand what is happening in the moment as you’re not directly told how the characters feel or shown by immediate action. In CMBYN, I feel like it wouldn’t have mattered if I was completely lost with the plot, as Elio and Oliver had such a complex, exciting and addictive relationship, who cares what’s happening around their own little universe. In a character-driven film like this, you are expected to follow the protagonists closely and live their lives with them. You learn and experience as they do, and in this film it seemed especially magical.
Elio and Samuel – The relationship between Elio and his parents in general is wonderful yet rare, to see such a unique bond between an adolescent boy and his parents. Elio and Samuel always seem close, but it is towards the end of the film when they sit together and talk about Oliver, that you realise how special their relationship truly is. Though they may not discuss everything and often are both busy doing their own thing, they can understand each other and their experiences on a level that most people wouldn’t or couldn’t relate to. It is admirable to see such a strong father-son bond portrayed in a positive light.
You best believe I ordered the book the moment the credits started rolling. Book review coming soon.
“We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything – what a waste!” – André Aciman